The Exploding Envelope Series: Beware the honey pot

Came across this gem courtesy of the International Spy Museum. It’s WWI-era from the Naval Historical Center.

Leading up to the release of Take the Bai Road, and the re-release of Bai Tide, I’ve started a blog series about various espionage terms. Today’s installment? The nefarious Honey Pot!

A Honey Pot is one of the oldest, and, I would argue, most successful, espionage tools in existence. Essentially, it’s an attractive woman whose job is to seduce people into giving up information or access they would otherwise not part with.

In any industry, and especially in Intelligence, operational security and nondisclosure are a major concern. “Loose lips sink ships,” is true, because they have. Executives and key personnel in major corporations receive training to keep them from inadvertently giving away trade secrets, and nondisclosure agreements are standard once you get to a certain level.

This goes double (triple? quadruple?) for Intelligence work. Literal lives are at stake in this arena, which means the information alphabet people (what I’m calling CIA, FBI, NSA, DOJ, HS, DEA, ATF, etc. employees) are working with can be used to directly harm people. This fact is drilled into their heads each and every day of training, and is likely re-emphasized on a regular basis throughout the year.

Okay, so now we know why alphabet people need to keep their mouths shut. Now imagine you’re an enemy operative who’s been sent to trawl for information (this also works for American operatives working in foreign countries). How’re you going to get it?

You could wait for some random government worker to walk into your country’s Embassy and offer to spill his/her guts, but that could take awhile and your superiors are likely to get impatient. Plus, you’re likely to get bored.

So what do you do? Well, if you’re a hot woman, you work what your mama gave you and use liquor and lust to get a man who knows better to make a mistake. This strategy is the Honey Pot, and it’s effective. If the guy is married, so much the better because now you have influence and leverage.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, this also works the other way around. Men can be used as Honey Pots, too. Lonely women who work too much and don’t get hit on very often make excellent targets.

And just in case this seems like a nostalgic throwback to Cold War-era spy tactics, the former head of the CIA’s National Resources Division claimed that China in particular was focusing very aggressive spying efforts on the U.S. Chinese spies are mostly after specific pieces of intellectual property, and you better believe a good number of these operatives are using feminine wiles on unsuspecting white-coats and developers.

The former head of the House Intelligence Committee stated last year that there are currently more foreign intelligence operatives in the U.S. than there have been at any point in American history, including the Cold War (reference).

According to a retired senior CIA operative, there are thousands of Russian operatives at work in America. Each operative’s chance of success is so small, Russia is improving their chances of success by sending as many people as they can to try to ferret out as much information as they can about anything they can.

Espionage is alive and well, my friends. Operatives are taught how to leverage vulnerable people into giving them what they want. It’s dangerous out there, which is why posters like the one above were used as helpful reminders of one simple fact: Beware of inquisitive women and prying men!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, be sure to order a copy of one of my books for more in-depth looks at the fascinating world of espionage!

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