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The Impossible Mission Force, also known as the IMF, is an independent, multi-national espionage agency commonly employed by the United States government and it serves as the titular group of main protagonists in the Mission: Impossible film and TV series.

Background

Specialty and Methods

Situations that are too politically sensitive or too potentially and politically embarrassing, too dangerous for politicians to be trusted and to confront, too absurd or too sensitive for the Central Intelligence Agency, or too complex for the Federal Bureau of Investigation are handled by this top-secret agency. The IMF is a specialized group of expert spy agents who remain hidden from the public eye. If the IMF's existence was ever publicly revealed, the United States would be expelled from the United Nations and banned as a "pariah state."

For this reason, the IMF trains its field operatives very rigorously in the ways of stealth, deception, persuasion and the art of "invisibility." On the other hand, the most successful mission teams usually employ methods drawn from the criminal element of grand-scale confidence games which they can play on specific mission targets. These IMF agents are well-educated, multi-talented and highly trained in a variety of areas including demolition, long-range surveillance, computers and even assassination tactics. As one of the best-funded espionage organizations in the world, the IMF can possess multiple millions of dollars worth in specialized gadgetry and weaponry.

Personnel and Equipment

Not all of the IMF's operatives are on top of the line, as some have been disciplined or expelled from the agency for their unacceptable behavior during missions. The spies expelled from the IMF are the most dangerous individuals to the agency, as they could easily reveal secrets about the organization to any number of foreign and rogue governments. Worst of all, as skilled as they are in playing grand-scale confidence games, they could easily entrap the most reliable operatives in such games and thereby compromise them.

With continued success since the 1940s, the IMF bears the brunt of today's international attacks, now focused on concealed entry and espionage. The missions keep getting harder and harder - but so do the agents.

The IMF operates primarily by executing confidence tricks on its mission targets, sometimes with the aid of high-tech gadgetry. The agents are able to deceive their targets into cooperating with them without detecting a set-up until the mission is accomplished; by that time, the IMF personnel have already vanished from the scene.

Plausible Deniability

In a worst-case scenario during undercover missions in which its presence becomes known, the IMF can become a subject to disavowal under order from the President's fail-safe initiative, "Ghost Protocol." With this initiative in place, the IMF is rendered defunct, and any or all operatives in the field are hereby unable to access any specific safe houses, gaining technical support, using satellites or sending extraction units to their specific location.

Ethan Hunt and his team used the disavowal of the IMF to exercise more restraint in their actions in stopping a nuclear extremist, Kurt Hendricks, than would normally possible during an official mission given by the mission commanders or by the top agents.

Select IMF Agents

Dan Briggs' mission team ("The Director's Own")

  • Barney Collier
  • Cinnamon Carter
  • Rollin Hand
  • Willy Armitage

James "Jim" Phelps' first mission team ("The Director's Own")

  • Barney Collier
  • Casey
  • Cinnamon Carter
  • Dana Lambert
  • Doug Robert
  • Mimi Davies
  • Rollin Hand
  • The Great Paris
  • Tracey
  • Willy Armitage

Tom Copperfield's primary mission team

  • Casey Randall
  • Grant Collier
  • Max Harte
  • Nicholas Black

Jim Phelps' 1980s mission team

  • Casey Randall
  • Grant Collier
  • Max Harte
  • Nicholas Black
  • Shannon Reed

Jim Phelps' 1996 mission team

  • Claire Phelps
  • Ethan Hunt
  • Jack Harmon
  • Sarah Davies
  • Hannah Williams

Ethan Hunt's 1996 mission team

  • Claire Phelps
  • Franz Krieger
  • Luther Stickell

Ethan Hunt's 2000 mission team

  • Billy Baird
  • Luther Stickell
  • Nyah Nordoff-Hall

Ethan Hunt's 2006 mission team

  • Declan Gormley
  • Luther Stickell
  • Zhen Lei

Jane Carter's 2011 mission team

  • Benji Dunn
  • Trevor Hanaway

Ethan Hunt's 2011 mission team

Ethan Hunt's 2015 mission team

  • Benji Dunn
  • Luther Stickell
  • William Brandt
  • Ilsa Faust
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