Britain's domestic spy agency reaches out to gay recruits

MI5 no longer views gay and lesbian agents as security threats
||Last Updated: 08/20/2008

Britain's domestic spy agency is on a recruitment spree, reaching out to traditionally under-represented labour pools including women, minorities, gays and lesbians.

For decades MI5 shunned gay agents because it believed them to be vulnerable to blackmail, even if they were out and open about their sexuality.

The agency's move to recruit gays and lesbians is long overdue, according to London gay rights activists.

The Cold War mentality saw security threats and traitors everywhere. During that era, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt were both British spies, both gay and both were caught spying for the Soviets.

Ben Summerskill, CEO of British gay rights group Stonewall, which publishes a job hunting guide that includes the spy agency as a prospective employer, is working with MI5 to create a gay-friendly work environment.

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