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Non-official Cover Operatives are a highly secret branch of the Unspeakables. Despite the fact that all branches of the Unspeakables are cloaked in secrecy, the Non-Official Cover Operatives branch is doubly so due to the tasks they undertake. Non-Official Cover Operatives side-step a lot of laws in their work, though they do not have diplomatic immunity to do so and must be able to bypass them on their own without being caught. Most of what NCOs deal with and do on a daily basis makes most of their operatives morally ambiguous. The Minister himself is rarely fully aware of what each operative is involved in and this may or may not be for the best. There are those operatives who have gone rogue in the past but, on the whole, if the Minister was to have full knowledge of what laws they bypassed, even in their own country, it would put him in a precarious position politically. It wouldn’t bode well should this knowledge get out into the public forum one way or another.

Those who work in this branch are officially considered Unspeakables. Due to the fact that no one outside of the Unspeakables knows what exactly it is they do, they are simply regarded as oddballs within the Ministry, for the most part. In the past, Non-Official Cover Operatives and Aurors have worked closely on select tasks but there is quite a distance between the two departments and the Aurors never find out much regarding the workings of the NOCs.

NCOs, if caught in the line of duty, do not have the backing of the Ministry. They swear an oath when they are first recruited (and they must be recruited, they cannot apply to be one) that they will not divulge that they work for the Ministry and in the course of wizarding history not one NCO has ever done so. They work above and beyond the law. Technically, a lot of their actions are those of terrorists but they are fully supported by the government and even funded by it.

The espionage NCOs conduct can take many forms. They are always after a goal which will feed back into the intelligence and experimental work the other Unspeakables perform. Sometimes it is a specific piece of information regarding a type of magic or device. Other times it is confirming whether or not a country has access to magics, devices or potions unheard of in Britain. In that case it is their job to steal this information so that it may be useful to Britain, even if useful simply means creating a way to counteract such things if used against them. Usually it is official organisations which the NCOs are infiltrating. Unofficial groups, usually oppositional to the Ministry or fanatical, have also been the targets of infiltration. It is not unusual for an NCO to transfer to another Ministry's Department of Mysteries and remain there for many years before quitting and returning to Britain with the desired intel in hand.

Department of Mysteries: Death | Love | Space | Thought | Time | Non-Official Cover Operatives