Using Sex in Espionage

As we hear more and more about Chinese spy agencies utilizing sex in espionage it is worth reminding what it actually means to Honeytrap someone:

“If one paid attention only to the fictional James Bond, little besides love would be involved in recruitment. The reality is different, although the details will vary with countries, cultures, legality of the physical contact, and other aspects of a specific situation. US intelligence services, for example, are concerned when their own personnel could be subject to sexual blackmail. This applied to any homosexual relationship until the mid-1990s, and also applied to heterosexual relationships with most foreign nationals. See honeypots in espionage fiction for fictional examples. In some cases, especially when the national was a citizen of a friendly nation, the relationship needed to be reported. Failure to do so, even with a friendly nation, could result in dismissal.

One former CIA officer said that while sexual entrapment wasn’t generally a good tool to recruit a foreign official, it was sometimes employed successfully to solve short-term problems. Seduction is a classic technique; “swallow” was the KGB tradecraft term for women, and “raven” the term for men, trained to seduce intelligence targets.

During the Cold War, the KGB (and allied services, including the East German Stasi under Markus Wolf, and the Cuban Intelligence Directorate (formerly known as Dirección General de Inteligencia or DGI)) frequently sought to entrap CIA officers. The KGB believed that Americans were sex-obsessed materialists, and that U.S. spies could easily be entrapped by sexual lures. The best-known incident, however, was of Clayton Lonetree, a Marine guard supervisor at the Moscow embassy, who was seduced by a “swallow” who was a translator at the Embassy of the United States in Moscow. Once the seduction took place, she put him in touch with a KGB handler. The espionage continued after his transfer to Vienna, although he eventually turned himself in.

The Soviets used sex not only for direct recruitment, but as a contingency where an American officer might need to be compromised in the future. The CIA itself made limited use of sexual recruitment against foreign intelligence services. “Coercive recruitment generally didn’t work. We found that offers of money and freedom worked better.” If the Agency found a Soviet intelligence officer had a girlfriend, they would try to recruit the girlfriend as an access agent. Once the CIA personnel had access to the Soviet officer, they might attempt to double him.

Examples of people trapped by sexual means include:

    * Clayton J. Lonetree, a US Marine Sergeant embassy guard in Moscow, was entrapped by a female Soviet officer in 1987. He was then blackmailed into handing over documents when he was assigned to Vienna. Lonetree is the first US Marine to be convicted of spying against the United States.
    * Roy Rhodes, a US Army NCO serving at the US embassy in Moscow, had a one-night stand (or was made to believe he had) with a Soviet agent while drunk. He was later told the agent was pregnant, and that unless he co-operated with the Soviet authorities, this would be revealed to his wife.
    * Irvin Scarbeck, a US diplomat, was entrapped by a female Polish officer in 1961, and photographed in a compromising position. He was blackmailed into providing secrets.
    * Sharon Scranage, a CIA employee described by one source as a “shy, naive, country girl”, was allegedly seduced by Ghanaian intelligence agent Michael Soussoudis. She later gave him information on CIA operations in Ghana, which was later shared with Soviet-bloc countries.
    * Mordechai Vanunu, who had disclosed Israeli nuclear secrets, began an affair with an American Mossad agent, Cheryl Bentov, operating under the name “Cindy” and masquerading as an American tourist, on September 30, 1986. She persuaded him to fly to Rome, Italy, with her on a holiday. Once in Rome, Mossad agents drugged him and smuggled him to Israel on a freighter.
    * John Vassall, a British civil servant who was guided by the KGB into having sex with multiple male partners while drunk. The KGB then used photographs of this to blackmail Vassall into providing them with secret information.
    * Bernard Boursicot, a French diplomat, was entrapped by Shi Pei Pu, who was working for the Chinese government. Shi Pei Pu, a male Chinese opera singer, successfully masqueraded as a woman and told Boursicot he was carrying Boursicot’s child. The situation was fictionalized into the play M. Butterfly.
    * Katrina Leung, indicted as a double agent working for both China and the FBI, seduced her FBI handler, James J. Smith, and was able to obtain FBI information of use to China through him. She also had an affair with another FBI officer, William Cleveland.
    * In 2006, the British Defence Attaché in Islamabad Pakistan, was recalled home, when it emerged that he had been involved in a relationship with a Pakistani woman, who was an intelligence agent. While the British Government deny that secrets were lost, others sources say that several Western operatives and operations within Pakistan were compromised.
    * In May 2007 a female officer serving in Sweden’s Kosovo force was suspected of having leaked classified information to her Serbian lover who turned out to be a spy.
    * Won Jeong-hwa, who was arrested by South Korea in 2008 and charged with spying for North Korea, is accused of using this method to obtain information from an army officer.” SOURCE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s