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007 wannabes wanted

International men and women of mystery sought via a Web site launched by U.K. intelligence service.

A British overseas-intelligence service has launched a new Web site to enlist recruits--so would-be 007s can now sign up online.

The MI6 Web site contains the history of the organization, officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), as well as frequently asked questions and information on how to become an officer.

"We never talk about the size of the service, because that's giving the opposition some advantage, but we are actively recruiting," an MI6 representative said.

In the first hour after its launch on Thursday, the Web site received 1,700 visitors. The site also experienced some slow loading due to its popularity, MI6 said.

Gordon Brown, the U.K. government's Chancellor of the Exchequer, has invested heavily in MI6 and MI5, the domestic intelligence service, in order to boost recruitment to support efforts to combat terrorism.

The Web site attempts to dispel the myth around the glamour of spying, as portrayed in Ian Fleming's James Bond stories.

But it doesn't resist Bond references entirely: "Staff who join SIS can look forward to a career that will have moments when the gap narrows just a little," it says, adding that recruits will enjoy "the certainty of a stimulating and rewarding career which, like Bond's, will be in the service of their country."

Dan Ilett of Silicon.com reported from London.