Intelligence: Honey Pot Babies


February 20, 2015: In South Korea it was recently revealed that North Korea had, for several decades, been using a new twist on the classic "honey trap". This involved female agents not just seducing prominent foreigners (and then blackmailing them into spying to avoid release of video of the illicit liaison) but getting pregnant by the victim and later applying even more pressure on the very vulnerable father. This technique apparently became known to South Korean intelligence after the defection of a high ranking North Korean official in 2004 who had detailed knowledge of the program. For over a decade this was kept secret as efforts were made to find out who the victims were and what secrets they might have compromised. Little more information on this situation has surfaced so far.

The Chinese and Russians have been using the basic honey pot technique for a long time. Blackmail is the preferred use of the honey pot technique, although if the female agent can establish a long-term relationship it’s possible to obtain more information and still be able to fall back on the blackmail angle. Sometimes male agents seduce women with access to secret data and use long-term relationships to get a steady supply of material. The Russians used this frequently during the Cold War, especially in Western Europe. Sometimes these long-term relationships led to children, but here the father knew he had kids, although not that mom was an enemy spy.

For decades now Western governments have warned their people (especially diplomats and people in the security services) to beware of the honey pot. The unknown pregnancy angle is something of a new twist to the ancient use of seduction to discover secrets.

North Korea has also been a major user of kidnapping for espionage purposes. This has been known since the 1990s and in 2002 North Korea apologized to Japan for kidnapping Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 80s so they could be used as instructors for North Korean spies. North Korea also kidnapped South Koreans for the same purposes. But while North Korea eventually admitted to the kidnappings, it is still silent about the honey pot babies.




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