Before the movie “Red Sparrow,” featuring a Russian dancer-turned-spy who uses sex as a weapon, some American intelligence agents purportedly ventured out in evening dresses outfitted with microphones, tape recorders and antennas.
That’s according to an early-1960s counterintelligence document posted on governmentattic.org on Dec. 3.
The document includes a dark, smudged photograph of an “electrically charged seductress” wearing one of the evening dresses. The caption reads:
This evening dress, the magazine reports, “is exceptionally suitable for embassy or legation receptions. It includes microphones (Nos. 1, 3 and 4) a tape recorder (5) and an antenna (6). The magazine observes that Hungary “must keep in step with the advancing techniques of cocktail party.
The heavily redacted counterintelligence document is entitled “Counterintelligence Trends and Developments. It is aimed at informing the U.S. Army of “current developments and trends in the techniques of espionage and subversion which are employed by the Sino-Soviet bloc to attain its Cold War objectives.”
The document warns of the influence of the Chinese and say that there were 26,000 Chinese living in Cuba. The document states:
During 1961, Peiping capitalized upon Sino-Cuban amity by introducing Spanish-language books and magazines into Cuba in quantity. During the first nine months of 1961 over 250,000 copies of Mao Tse-tung’s works were sold there as well as 180,000 copies of various books on China. The word “sold” is used advisedly, since Havana is known to serve as a distribution center of Communist publications for the rest of Latin America. An estimated 145,000 copies of three books by Mao, Anna Louise Strong (elderly China apologist residing in Peiping), and the late Chinese writer, Lu Hsun, were released in October 1961.
There is also evidence that during 1961 Peiping took the lead in publication of Communist propaganda in Esperanto language, distributed principally in Europe and Latin America. Chinese Communist presses were kept busy during the year rolling off an Esperanto version of a 102-page booklet presenting Peiping’s version of Lenin’s teachings entitled “Long Live Leninism.”
Another section of the document discusses sexual entrapment and quotes an enlisted Army soldier who fell for a German woman.
“I realized that as a soldier my first duty was to my country. But I loved this girl so much that it prevented me from doing what I knew was right. I told her I would give her whatever information I could obtain.”
With the detachment common to a cooled romance, the soldier explained that love had simply outweighed patriotism. He had never thought he would do such a thing, and he wanted to think he would never do it again.
Love and sex have dulled men’s consciences throughout history. Although professional female spies are rare — their nature does not seem to permit the necessary long-term emotional detachment — women’s natural allure is frequently used by opposing intelligence services to entrap an unwary target.