Are Spies Real?

spies-real Credit: Andrejs Zemdega/Vetta/Getty Images

Yes, spies are real, but they very seldom resemble how they are portrayed on television and in the movies. Spies are used to gather information about governments, businesses and other organizations to which a person or group does not normally have access. The use of spies is seen throughout history and has helped shape law and foreign policy. While it has been historically significant, when spies are discovered, it is considered to be a black eye for the government or organization that sponsored them.

Spies are used because, while some information is readily available, other information is kept under close guard. This gathering of information is known as espionage, which is more fully defined as the gathering of intelligence information through technology, deception and the data analysis. Organizations who are being spied upon sometimes become aware and engage in counter-espionage to supply the spy with false information.

The goal of the spy is to look as ordinary as possible. It is possible for a spy to spend his whole life on one mission and to take years to develop a backstory.

According to "The Guardian," one such modern-day spy was Melita Norwood. She was born in 1912 and died 2005. She worked as a spy for Russia at a British atomic research center for nearly 37 years. She was finally identified in 1999 at the age of 87.