All right, granted, the Service has a statutory interest in international
crookery and money-laundering. We fought for a piece of it when times were hard,
and now we’re landed with it. I refer to that unfortunate fallow period between
the Berlin Wall coming down and Osama bin Laden doing us the favor of 9/11. We
fought for a piece of the money-laundering market the same as we fought for a
larger slice of Northern Ireland, and whatever other modest pickings were
available to justify our existence. But that was then, Hector. And this is now,
and as of today, which is where we are living, like it or not, your Service and
mine has better things to do with its time and resources than get its knickers
caught in the highly complex wheels of City of London finance, thank you.
…furthermore, we also have, in this country, a very large, fully
incorporated, somewhat over-financed sister agency that devotes its efforts,
such as they are, to matters of serious and organized crime, which I take it is
what you are purporting to be unveiling here. Not to mention Interpol, and any
number of competing American agencies falling over each other’s very large feet
to do the same job while careful not to prejudice the prosperity of that great
And to hell with the morality of it. To hell with the people who get hurt and die. They're just collateral to the greater good, or the greater profit, whichever it's more prudent to back at any time.
He’d heard that the Empowerment Committee had its own war room these days. ItSorry to be so dark here. Le Carre always does that to me.
seemed appropriate: somewhere ultra, ultra secret, suspended from wires or
buried a hundred feet underground. Well, he’d been in rooms like that: in Miami
and Washington when he was trading Intelligence with his chers collegues in the
CIA or the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Alcohol, Firearms & Tobacco Agency
and God knew what all the other agencies had been. And his measured opinion was
that they were places that guaranteed collective insanity. He’d watched how the
body language changed as the Indoctrinated Ones abandoned themselves and their
common sense to the embrace of their virtual world.