We had planted an eavesdropping device in it, which should have been live-monitored back at Thames House, MI5 headquarters, but there was an incident going on elsewhere and resources had been diverted.What we didn’t realise was that the target had guessed he was being followed. He and his friends had planned a snatch – to kidnap an MI5 agent. I didn’t know it at the time but they had set up a room, in a house they used, with plastic sheeting on the floor, black flags, video cameras and butcher’s knives – I believe they wanted to try the kidnappee under Sharia law, then behead him online. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Tom Marcus* joined MI5 in his twenties and went on to work in surveillance. Here he talks about his most dangerous missionI’d been in MI5 for a few years when I found myself on the most dangerous mission of my career. I was sent to follow a potential Islamist terrorist in Camden Market, north London, as part of a surveillance operation. He started on foot, then got into a car. I realise now it was there for the snatch. I kept walking, my head down, but suddenly, as I got closer, the van pulled away and raced off. I still don’t know what spooked them but it had gone down to the wire.Later, when another group of officers searched the address and found the knives, flags and camera, I realised how close my brush with death had been. I joined MI5 in my 20s – I had previously been in the Royal Engineers and was noticed by one of the colonels. I was very fit and had impressed him by standing up to him, so he sent me to special operations selections, which led to me joining the service. I followed the target on foot and in the car all day, then that evening he parked in a very rough part of London and walked through a narrow alley towards a mosque for last prayers. I followed close behind. As I walked through the alleyway, I realised my radio wasn’t working properly. It was raining heavily and visibility was poor. The only thing I could see was a pair of tail lights at the end of the alley – a Transit van was hovering there. I went through several traumatic events and my nightmares became unbearable Armed British police walk in the check in area of Gatwick Airport, SussexCredit:CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images Despite my troubles, I’d recommend it as a career. It’s refreshing to see how much the service has changed. They used only to recruit Oxbridge graduates with brains the size of planets, but now they appoint people from all backgrounds who won’t stand out if they’re sent to a pub or a council estate. Ultimately, to be a spy you need loyalty, integrity and to be a team player – qualities that, deep down, most people have in them.*Name changed Soldier Spy (Penguin Books Ltd, £20) by Tom Marcus, is available for £16.99 plus £1.99 p&p from The Telegraph Bookshop (0844 871-1514, books.telegraph.co.uk) I began working in counterterrorism in Northern Ireland, and met my wife, who was working in the same covert unit. She matched me glass for glass at a Christmas party and we got married four months later. Our colleagues called us Mr and Mrs Smith.During my eight years in the service, I specialised in surveillance and adopted all sorts of disguises, from a homeless person to a painter. I also played a part in foiling al-Qaeda’s plot to bomb Manchester landmarks over the Easter bank holiday in 2009.But I also went through several traumatic events and my nightmares became unbearable – I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had to leave MI5.It was hard to find work because I couldn’t disclose where I’d been working for the past few years, but after some time, I’ve finally settled.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedJagdeo, Granger to meet early JanuaryDecember 24, 2018In “latest news”Opposition Leader briefs Western Diplomats on no-confidence voteDecember 28, 2018In “latest news”Opposition Leader says willing to meet President anytime, and daily to chart way forwardJune 26, 2019In “latest news” President David GrangerPresident David Granger returned home from Cuba on New Year’s Day after receiving his third round of chemotherapy for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.The Head of State’s return is anticipated since it would pave the way for talks with Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo on the way forward regarding the passage of the No-Confidence Motion against his Coalition Government on December 21.However, a date for that meeting is yet to be set.The motion, which was tabled by Jagdeo, was successfully passed with Alliance For Change (AFC) Parliamentarian, Charrandas Persaud, voting in favour.Following its passage, Jagdeo requested to meet with President Granger to determine the way forward.However, Granger left Guyana on Christmas day for Cuba where he is receiving treatment after being diagnosed with cancer in November.According to the President’s press unit he returned home on New Year’s Day.The Opposition Leader had earlier indicated his willingness to meet at any given time providing that the Government is ready for dialogue.President Granger, in his New Year’s address to the Guyanese people, renewed his commitment to furthering the dialogue.However, his sentiments comes on the heels of his government gearing to challenge the passage of the motion in the National Assembly, contending that the motion needed a 34-majority vote to be approved.In fact, they have written the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, who had declared the motion passed, to review and reverse the his decision.This matter is expected to come up at Thursday’s sitting of the National Assembly.Attorney General Basil Williams earlier this week said that if government fails to get a favourable result in the House, it will move to the courts.This is as President Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had previously acknowledged the passage of the motion, publicly accepting that government was defeated and that in accordance with Guyana’s constitution General Elections would be held within 90 days.The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has since contended that Government’s back-pedaling on accepting the vote is a ploy so that they could hold on to power longer.According to the Party the sentiments expressed by the Granger led Administration are baseless, with Government wasting a valuable opportunity for dialogue and exhibition of mature leadership.