There was a story in the newspapers today that British spies had to move out of China and Russia after the governments in those nations decrypted communications; somehow Edward Snowden was to blame.
It is hard to see why the UK needs to have spies in Russia, China or anywhere else for that matter. Spying is about the only perpetual motion machine that works. A nation sends in one spy and the other sends back a spy; sometimes spies go in pairs or in small minivan loads; sometimes they are sent home because they have been caught. Mostly nations know who the spies are. Certainly in communist times the people knew the spies (employed by the state against their own people). For some reason it seems that it was a disaster that the spies from Britain in China and Russia were found out and their spying communications read.
I ddo not understand why governments think it proper and right to poke into the private affairs of other governments; it gives no advantage; other governments are just as clever as our governments and the only result is that all the spying cancels itself out and money from taxes is wasted on these games.
The best understanding of spying is got from looking at the buildings that house spies officially; whether such buildings are in Langley, on the banks of the thames or in Moscow the buildings are just like the whole business of spying – tawdry, ugly, hopeless and a waste of money.