Sounds like the basis for Evelyn Waugh's other novel...
I would like think that there are several layers to any Intelligence Agency. There is the Media Arm which makes up anything that it thinks will keep the public at bay.
There is the mainstream arm, which has been specifically created to attract those in the Agency and to let them think what they are doing are really important, ie, those that would be really dangerous if they actually had as much control and influence as they thought they did. Think of the current part in power in relation to the Civil Service.
There is the Governmental liaison arm, which are also split into two sections, one for the mainstream arm to encourage wasteful faff to keep them busy (lots of expense accounts), and one for Actual Agency arm.
Then, the Actual Agency, that do the real high flying stuff. Stuff that you *would* be killed if you found out about. It probably involves electrified nipple* clamps.
What this does mean, however, is that they certain are not 'armless. <ahem>
*Only if you are lucky...you really would prefer them to the others....