The government carried out assassinations during the Cold War, novelist and former secret agent John le Carre told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
The espionage writer worked for the domestic and external intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 during the 1950s and 1960s.
"Certainly we did very bad things. We did a lot of direct action. Assassinations, at arm's length. Although I was never involved," said the 79-year-old, whose real name is David Cornwell.
He drew a distinction between Western spy agencies and their Soviet bloc counterparts in the way they went about it.
|The government carried out assassinations during the Cold War, novelist and former secret agent John le Carre, seen here, told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper|
The novelist, who worked in Berlin in his Cold War days, denied that both sides were as bad each other.
"Even when quite ruthless operations were being contemplated (in the West), the process of democratic consultation was still relatively intact and decent humanitarian instincts came into play," he said.
"Totalitarian states killed with impunity and no one was held accountable."