Lies and Spies – Anna chapman

15657090Sex, lies & female spies
By Gayle Schoales
July 18, 2010

Move over James Bond. It’s out with shaken Martinis and in with Cosmos. Like suspected Russian spy Anna Chapman, 28, just under half of the UK’s 3,500 ‘spooks’ are women and, according to experts, it’s feisty, fearless females who make the best spies. With pistols concealed in their designer handbags and lipsticks doubling as listening devices, women are putting their feminine skills to good use, forging careers in what has traditionally been a man’s world.
“Female spies like Anna Chapman use their sexuality to their advantage,” says Claire Thomas, co-author of Spooks: The Unofficial History of MI5. “An attractive, intelligent woman can ensnare a man and get him to lower his guard. She’ll turn him into putty in her hands and get the information she needs. She doesn’t have to use sex – but it’s a powerful weapon.”
While us girls might lack the physical strength of our male counterparts, in the world of spying, that’s not a problem.
“Espionage is more about gathering intelligence than getting into Jason Bourne-style fist fights,” explains Claire. “Male agents don’t have an advantage. If anything, women are mentally much stronger than men. They can cope with pressure better, and the demands of leading a double life.”

The sexier the spy, the better
As for Bond-girl looks, traffic-stopping beauty can actually be a hindrance rather than a help. “Depending on the mission, the agent might want to be unremarkable and fly under the radar,” says Claire. “If it’s a honey-trap however, the sexier the spy, the better.”
When he founded the British Security Service (MI5) in 1909, Sir Vernon Kell stipulated that female agents had to be “well bred and have good legs”. And in the ’30s and ’40s, MI5 spymaster Maxwell Knight recruited sexy women to go on missions to ensnare men with German or Russian links.

“Women are more likely to be sent on corporate missions these days, where they can get jobs in offices that allow them access to files, or have drinks with well-connected people,” says Claire. “But the essence of their work is still the same.
“They can exploit men’s vanity, seducing them into telling them what they want to know. Men don’t suspect women asking strange questions in the same way they would a man.”

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