SEXPIONAGE: From Russia with Love

“Every westerner who goes to Moscow knows that some girl may get into his bedroom, but people continue to get trapped… It’s human nature, I suppose.”

Phillip Knightley, author of “The Second Oldest Profession — Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century”

keeler

Lewis Morley’s 1963 portrait of Christine Keeler became an iconic image of the cold war.

The long, distinguished and surprisingly varied list of known KGB entrapment victims since World War II proves that no category of western resident in Moscow has been immune from the charms of Soviet “swallows” and “ravens”.  “Honey traps” may indeed be a Russian specialty, but let us not forget that, just like hacking, all Intel Agencies are using the old technique. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

‘Sexpionage’ is a portmanteau word blending sex and espionage. The job combines the world’s oldest and second-oldest professions.

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RELATED POST: PUTIN: ‘Trump Dossier’ is Utter Nonsense

Tragi-comedy

There is something inherently risible about strong and wise men falling for this old trick. After 28 US Marine guards in Moscow and Leningrad were caught for espionage, Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that strong American men were not match for the beautiful Russian girls.

“Recently we have witnessed a loss of capability to resist the enemy.”

But for the victims, the story often ends in a tragic way.

When a French military attaché [Colonel Louis Guibaud] was confronted with the evidence by the KGB and offered the choice of secret collaboration or public disgrace, the colonel preferred to shoot himself.

Very crude technique?

John Barron is the author of two standard works on the KGB.

“It’s a very crude technique — but one that the Soviets employ with considerable sophistication. You would have thought that we would be selecting people who were invulnerable to it by now, but apparently not.”

Lonely and naïve ‘targets’: The Watkins Case

Jon Watkins, a Canadian ambassador, met a Soviet man with whom he had a brief affair on one of his trips to Central Asia. The man later sent the ambassador a postcard, suggesting that they meet in Moscow. The encounter took place in a hotel room — and their amorous embraces were secretly filmed by the KGB.

William Kaplan, a former law professor at the University of Ottawa wrote a book about Watkins. Commenting on this case, Kaplan suggested that:

“The former Canadian ambassador knew very well that the secret police was out there — but I don’t think he really believed they would act in such a despicable manner.”

“It’s naive to think that, in a controlled and hostile environment, you can behave as you would in a place like England or France.”

Sorry, but They all do it!

Professor Kaplan was seriously mistaken to believe that the French, American or British ‘Intel Agencies’ do not play this trick.

In the UK, recent cases have revealed just how intimately police officers (men and women)  have become involved in the lives of people they have been sent to spy on as part of a surveillance programme that has been in place since 1968.

Part of the problem is that sexual activity is not specifically addressed in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, the law introduced in 2000 to govern covert activities. The act states police are permitted to have “personal or other” relationships when undercover.

In court documents the Met says it interpreted this statement to mean that, in certain circumstances, its officers were authorised to have “intimate and sexual” relationships. [Guardian]

Back in Paris 1995, it would appear that everybody — CIA and DGSE — were having sex with their ‘targets’. What else do you do in Paris anyway?

C.I.A. station chief in Paris, Dick Holm, kept the United States Ambassador to France, Pamela Harriman, in the dark about important aspects of his work.

Mr. Holm allowed an operative to carry on a love affair with the French official she was targeting, a decision that may have doomed the operation.

And his underlings, including the lovestruck spy, made serious blunders that led to an international embarrassment.

And just in case you wonder: what was the purpose of this operation anyway? Truth being told, it was not about nuclear weapons, missile technology or terrorism. In fact, it had nothing to do with US National Security.

In the French operation, the CIA was, in effect, spying for Hollywood. The purpose of the mission was to determine the strength of the French bargaining position in television and telecommunications trade negotiations. The United States was opposed to French demands to restrict imports of U.S. television programming into Europe.

RELATED POST: Hollywood and the CIA. No Joke!

PS.

In 1964 Watkins was secretly detained in a hotel in Montreal, Quebec, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the US Central Intelligence Agency, who accused him of being an agent of influence.

He died several days into the interrogation. However, the official obituary claimed Watkins had suffered a heart attack in the company of friends during a farewell supper celebrating his illustrious career.

The events surrounding the death of Watkins were exposed by Ian Adams in 1980, and the Parti Québécois government swiftly ordered an inquest into the death.

The RCMP refused to hand over its full report, claiming it would damage national security, but finally admitted that Watkins had died under police interrogation in the Montreal hotel room, he had not given in to Soviet blackmailing tactics, and he had not been found to be a traitor. [WIKIPEDIA]

SEXPIONAGE

“With compellingly candid interviews with agents, officials, experts and the manipulated women and men themselves; this chilling, but strangely touching documentary offers a unique perspective on the ruthless manoeuvrings of the KGB, and the broken lives they have left behind.”

REFERENCES

SEXPIONAGE WHY WE CAN’T RESIST THOSE KGB SIRENS — WP April 1987

Police spies court case suggests sexual relations with activists were routine — Guardian January 2017

C.I.A. Confirms Blunders During Economic Spying on France —  NYT

Downplayed by CIA, Paris Incident Has Wide Impact — LA Times

 

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