Robert James Woolsey Jr – Jim to his friends – is not your typical Prius driver. Educated at Stanford, Oxford and Yale, he was facing down the Russians in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks of the late sixties before he was out of his twenties. He held a series of senior Washington posts; the walls of his office bear signed photographs and messages of thanks from every President since Nixon. In 1993, Bill Clinton made him his Director of Central Intelligence, giving him control of the CIA’s $30 billion annual budget and its network of tens of thousands of spies, and a brief to run covert operations against America’s enemies, whoever and wherever they might be. His diaries must read like a Tom Clancy novel.

Since he stepped down he has become one of Washington’s most hawkish figures, agitating early for the removal of Saddam Hussein, pointing the finger at Iraq in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and calling last year for the bombing of Syria. Woolsey ought to have the Stars and Stripes emblazoned across the hood of his Hummer, but instead he drives a Prius, and he says that if you live in a country dependent on imported oil, it is your patriotic duty to do the same. His argument is simple; that it is a bad thing for transport to depend on oil when the great majority of that oil lies in volatile parts of the world whose governments are either hostile to the West or in danger of being overthrown by those who are. More controversially, he argues that by making the Middle East so wealthy we are indirectly subsidizing terror; for Woolsey, the cash register in your local petrol station is a collecting-tin for al Qaeda. “We’re paying for both sides in this war and that is not a good long-term strategy,” he says. “I have a bumper sticker on the back of my Prius which reads, ‘Bin Laden hates this car’.