Markus WolfThe Torrid DetailsAn East German spymaster who wanted to keep tabs on West Germany in the 1950s, Markus Wolf came up with the idea of training handsome men to be "Romeo spies." Numerous men went into West Berlin and began using romance as a weapon, seducing women who worked for the West German government in order to get acess to state secrets.The AftermathWhen West German authorities realized what was happening, they did a better job of tracking potential Romeo spies who came to West Berlin. Authorities also arrested several women. Three were convicted of espionage, but all of their sentences were light as the circumstances behind their betrayal were taken into consideration.
John VassallThe Torrid DetailsWhile he was working in Moscow in 1954, Soviet spies took compromising pictures of low-level British diplomat John Vassall participating in a drunken orgy with other men. Vassall was a closeted homosexual and, given the climate at the time, he felt he had no choice but to start giving classified documents to the Soviets. His passing of information continued after he returned to Britain in 1956.The AftermathVassall was caught in 1962, after a tip from American intelligence, and served ten years in prison for his crimes.
Gerda MunsingerThe Torrid DetailsEven Canada has had a spy sex scandal! In the 1950s, Soviet spy and alleged East German prostitute Gerda Munsinger slept with multiple cabinet ministers, including the associate minister of national defense.The AftermathThe cabinet ministers who had been intimate with Munsinger probably thought that their secrets were safe when she was quietly deported in 1961. Unfortunately for them, in 1966 a member of a different political party brought up the scandal in the Canadian House of Commons. The scandal consumed the media, especially when Munsinger was contacted and confirmed that she'd hooked up with multiple government officials.
Katrina LeungThe Torrid DetailsBorn in China, Katrina Leung emigrated to the United States in 1970. In the 1980s, she was recruited as an FBI asset (code name “Parlor Maid”) to give the bureau information about China’s military capabilities. Almost as soon as she started working for the FBI, Leung began an affair with her handler, James J. Smith, that lasted for nearly 20 years. Whenever Smith visited Leung or stayed over at her house, Leung would photocopy classified documents Smith was carrying and then pass them on to China. Leung also had an affair with another agent, William Cleveland Jr. Although the FBI began to suspect Leung in the 1990s, Smith only admitted the affair after the FBI recorded him having sex with Leung in a hotel room.The AftermathLeung was charged with taking classified documents, but the case against her blew up when the prosecutors were accused of misconduct. Smith agreed to a plea bargain and accepted responsibility for lying to the FBI about the affair. Cleveland had already left the FBI when Leung’s actions were finally discovered.
Mordechai VanunuThe Torrid DetailsMordechai Vanunu, an Israeli scientist, revealed details about Israel's heretofore secret nuclear program to London newspapers in 1986. Desperate to hold him accountable for sharing this information, Israel used one of Vanunu's vulnerabilities against him: Vanunu was desperate for sex. Israel sent a Mossad agent who had been born in America, Cheryl Hanin, to meet up with Vanunu in London. Hanin (cover name "Cindy") then convinced Vanunu to go to Rome with her. There Israeli agents were able to drug Vanunu and transport him back to Israel.The AftermathVanunu was convicted in a closed trial and sentenced 18 years in prison, eleven of which he served in solitary confinement. He was released from prison in 2004 but is still kept under close watch by Israeli authorities.
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