The structure and operations of a secret intelligence service are concealed from the public. Stieg Larsson shows us in detail how a small group within Swedish Internal Security could be concealed even from most of the other people working within SIS. Four close colleagues, the assistant chief of the Security Police, the assistant head of the Secretariat, the head of Budget and one from personnel control, meet and create a new division to spy on the spies. The "Section" is never referred to in writing, not even in budget memoranda, and, over ten years, grows to only eleven people. The chief of the Section can initiate investigations, even into the head of the SIS or the Prime Minister, or tap phones without reporting to anyone else. Almost his whole team works not in police headquarters but in a residential building where an eleven room apartment has been remodeled into a fortified office with one permanent resident. The Section is financed through a special fund with a low budget, does not appear in the formal structure of the Security Police and is concealed even from the head of SIS. Within the Section, an Inner Circle with only seven members handles a Soviet defector whose existence is known to only thirteen people.
And what is my point on a Poul Anderson Appreciation blog? The Time Patrol would bug the meetings of the Section and the Inner Circle. And we are getting some idea of how Patrol agents who had penetrated the SIS and other intelligence services might be able to operate, utilizing local resources and working much of the time as loyal servants of particular governments while ultimately safeguarding the course of the history leading to the Danellians.