Espionage Quotes

Quotes tagged as "espionage" (showing 1-30 of 119)
John Flanagan
“...at the time, King Herbert felt that to remain safe, the kingdom needed an effective intelligence force."

"An intelligent force?" said Will.

"Not intelligent. Intelligence. Although it does help if your intelligence force was also intelligent.”
John Flanagan, The Ruins of Gorlan

Ally Carter
“I think it's kinda nice.' And I did. my mom isn't famous for her pies. No, she's famous for defusing a nuclear device in Brussels with only a pair of cuticle scissors and a ponytail holder. Somehow, at the moment, pies seemed cooler.”
Ally Carter, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

John le Carré
“Do you know what love is? I'll tell you: it is whatever you can still betray.”
John le Carré, The Looking Glass War

Ellen Brazer
“Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.
— Winston S. Churchill”
Ellen Brazer, Clouds Across the Sun

John le Carré
“I have a theory which I suspect is rather immoral,' Smiley went on, more lightly. 'Each of us has only a quantum of compassion. That if we lavish our concern on every stray cat, we never get to the centre of things.”
John Le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

James Morcan
“Democrats and Republicans were essentially the same party with different faces and that was why, no matter how many promises each leader made, significant change rarely transpired.”
James Morcan, Lance Morcan, The Ninth Orphan

John le Carré
“This is a war," Lemas replied. "It's graphic and unpleasant because it's fought on a tiny scale, at close range; fought with a wastage of innocent life sometimes, I admit. But it's nothing, nothing at all besides other wars - the last or the next.”
John le Carré, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

Howard Tayler
“Spy' is such a short ugly word. I prefer 'espionage.' Those extra three syllables really say something.”
Howard Tayler, Emperor Pius Dei

Steve Coll
“Even President Reagan couldn’t understand him. During an early briefing Casey delivered to the national security cabinet, Reagan slipped Vice President Bush a note: “Did you understand a word he said?” Reagan later told William F. Buckley, “My problem with Bill was that I didn’t understand him at meetings. Now, you can ask a person to repeat himself once. You can ask him twice. But you can’t ask him a third time. You start to sound rude. So I’d just nod my head, but I didn’t know what he was actually saying.”
Such was the dialogue for six years between the president and his intelligence chief in a nuclear-armed nation running secret wars on four continents.”
Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

John le Carré
“Haydon had found his charm again. He could do that at the drop of a hat. He drew you and he repelled you. I remember that exactly. He danced all ways for you, playing your emotions against each other because he had none of his own.”
John le Carré, The Secret Pilgrim

John le Carré
“There's no way out," he announced with satisfaction, "and no amount of wishful dreaming will produce one. The demon won't go back in its bottle, the face-off is for ever, the embrace gets tighter and the toys cleverer with every generation, and there's no such thing for either side as enough security. Not for the main players, not for the nasty little newcomers who each year run themselves up a suitcase bomb and join the club. We get tired of believing that, because we're human. We may even con ourselves into believing the threat has gone away. It never will. Never, never, never."

"So, who'll save us then, Walt?" Barley asked. "You and Nedsky?"

"Vanity, if anything will, which I doubt," Walter retorted. "No leader wants to go down in history as the ass who destroyed his country in an afternoon. And funk, I suppose. Most of our gallant politicians do have a narcissistic objection to suicide, thank God.”
John le Carré, The Russia House

Henry Mosquera
“I think all artists struggle to represent the geometry
of life in their own way, just like writers deal with
archetypes. There are only so many stories that you can
tell, but an infinite number of storytellers.”
Henry Mosquera, Sleeper's Run

Victor Robert Lee
“Cono felt embarrassed by the thought that he might have been just another pitiful orphan trying to turn his friends into family, and that he might be blinded by this need, a need that colored his whole life, that ache to offer worth to someone.”
Victor Robert Lee, Performance Anomalies

Christopher Hitchens
“Playing pool with Korean officials one evening in the Koryo Hotel, which has become the nightspot for foreign businessmen and an increasing number of diplomats (to say nothing of the burgeoning number of spies and journalists traveling under second identities), I was handed that day's edition of the Pyongyang Times. At first glance it seemed too laughable for words: endless pictures of the 'Dear Leader'—Little Boy's exalted title—as he was garlanded by adoring schoolchildren and heroic tractor drivers. Yet even in these turgid pages there were nuggets: a telegram congratulating the winner of the Serbian elections; a candid reference to the 'hardship period' through which the country had been passing; an assurance that a certain nuclear power plant would be closed as part of a deal with Washington. Tiny cracks, to be sure. But a complete and rigid edifice cannot afford fissures, however small. There appear to be no hookers, as yet, in Pyongyang. Yet if casinos come, can working girls be far behind? One perhaps ought not to wish for hookers, but there are circumstances when corruption is the only hope.”
Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

James Alan Gardner
“If you agree to work for us, half the time you won't know the purpose of your duties . . . and when we do explain, we might not be telling the truth. But that's the real world, folks . . .”
James Alan Gardner, Trapped

Jeff Phillips
“Their conversation ceased abruptly with the entry of an oddly-shaped man whose body resembled a certain vegetable. He was a thickset fellow with calloused and jaundiced skin and a patch of brown hair, a frizzy upheaval. We will call him Bell Pepper. Bell Pepper sidled up beside The Drippy Man and looked at the grilled cheese in his hand. The Drippy Man, a bit uncomfortable at the heaviness of the gaze, politely apologized and asked Bell Pepper if he would like one.

“Why is one of your legs fatter than the other?” asked Bell Pepper.

The Drippy Man realized Bell Pepper was not looking at his sandwich but towards the inconsistency of his leg sizes.

“You always get your kicks pointing out defects?” retorted The Drippy Man.

“Just curious. Never seen anything like it before.”

“I was raised not to feel shame and hide my legs in baggy pants.”

“So you flaunt your deformity by wearing short shorts?”

“Like you flaunt your pockmarks by not wearing a mask?”

Bell Pepper backed away, kicking wide the screen door, making an exit to a porch over hanging a dune of sand that curved into a jagged upward jab of rock.

“He is quite sensitive,” commented The Dry Advisor.

“Who is he?”

“A fellow who once manipulated the money in your wallet but now curses the fellow who does.”
Jeff Phillips, Turban Tan

Umberto Eco
“When a spy sells something entirely new, all he needs to do is recount something you could find in any second-hand book stall.”
Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery

Henry Mosquera
“My father once told me that it’s not enough for a man to be lucky; that a guy has to know when that streak is on for him.”
Henry Mosquera, Sleeper's Run

Mick Herron
“This was the blissful break when the world seemed a safer place, between the end of the Cold War and about ten minutes later.”
Mick Herron, Slow Horses

Clark Zlotchew
“The door suddenly opened. A leggy young brunette took two steps into the office and stopped short. Her brown eyes widened, she hastily excused herself and turned to leave. Pérez’s jaw dropped as he looked up at her high heels and ankles. He crawled out from under the desk and turned questioningly to his partner. Thorne didn't hesitate. He took one swift stride from behind, clamped a hand tightly over her mouth, and pulled her back into the room, disregarding her wildly flailing legs and frantic attempts to claw his hands away. He shut the door with a backward thrust of his foot.
"What do we do now?" Pérez whined.
"Observe." Thorne spoke calmly, as would a professor demonstrating a familiar operation to a beginner. Using both hands, he briskly snapped her neck. She stopped struggling.”
Clark Zlotchew, The Caucasian Menace

V.S. Carnes
“It came as naturally to him as breathing or lying, or worse. His mama had only taught her son to be cautious at all times. Garnette was more than that. Much, much more than that.”
V.S. Carnes

“Conspiracy theories are ways for someone to understand what is going on in the world and try to restore some sense of control in themselves.”
Oscar Auliq-Ice Junior

Mick Herron
“He and I, we're friends. Does that sound odd? Me, friends with a pinko journalist?'
Nothing sounded odd to Lamb; except, perhaps, that people had friends.”
Mick Herron, Slow Horses

Leonard Leventon
“Next time -- we will roll out the red carpet for you in the United States of Arabia, my brethren!”
Leonard Leventon, Brethren: A Gripping Tale of Counter Espionage

Mick Herron
“But the first bedtime story he ever did read me was Kim.' River could tell she recognised the title, so didn't elaborate. 'After that, well, Conrad, Greene. Somerset Maugham.'
'Ashenden.'
'You get the picture. For my twelfth birthday, he bought me le Carré's collected works. I can still remember what he said about them.'
They're made up. But that doesn't mean they're not true.”
Mick Herron, Slow Horses

“I do resent one thing. I went out with the specific purpose, because I wanted to go, the whole adventure is odd. But I want you to take back from your Department’s point of view, leaving out any question of lying, the Hohe Brücke Ferry – those destroyers were there and those transports. They were not brought up for my own benefit. It was a brilliant sunny day and it is absolutely correct - Walter Dicketts aka double agent Celery's interrogation by MI5 on return to England after his month-long mission in Germany, February/March 1941”
Walter Dicketts aka Double Agent Celery

Mick Herron
“Why am I telling you this?'
'So you'll have an excuse to kill me?'
'That's probably it.”
Mick Herron, Slow Horses

Danielle Bennett
“Keep your eyes down and don't speak unless you're spoken to were the only two rules a servant had to follow, and those just so happened also to be the basics of espionage.”
Danielle Bennett, Dragon Soul

John le Carré
“Good intelligence work, Control had always preached, was gradual and rested on a kind of gentleness.”
John le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

“This is a fast-paced, page-turner with suspense in every chapter.”
Ray Knowles, Operation Delilah

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