John Le Carre 'gives spies a bad name'

Author John Le Carre has been criticised by a former head of MI6 for giving spies a bad name.

Having served in the Secret Intelligence Service for three years himself, Le Carre left in 1963 and forged a hugely successful career in the publishing industry.

However, speaking at the Cliveden Literary Festival, Sir Richard Dearlove criticised the novelist for being "obsessed" with his career in the secret service and for making spying seem immoral by writing books "exclusively about betrayal".

Sir Richard, who was head of MI6 between 1999 and 2004 and oversaw its response to 9/11, also claimed most agents are angry with Le Carre for his representation of them, adding: "The feeling I get is that he intensely dislikes the service and what it represents."

Le Carre has hit back against the remarks and suggested Sir Richard may still be bitter about being wrong over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003.

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