Chapman's American dream, U.S. authorities say, was a ruse.Don't think that this wasn't purposeful. She was a honey trap.
The 28-year-old Chapman, they say, was a savvy Russian secret agent who worked with a network of other operatives before an FBI undercover agent lured her into an elaborate trap at a coffee shop in lower Manhattan.
Though the U.S. has branded the operatives as living covertly, at least in Chapman's case, she had taken care to brand herself publicly as a striver of the digital age, passionately embracing online social networking by posting information and images of herself for the world to see.
Prosecutors have charged Chapman and 10 other suspects with following orders by Russian intelligence to become "Americanized" enough to infiltrate "policymaking circles" and feed information back to Moscow.
The trade name for this type of spying is the "honey trap." And it turns out that both men and women are equally adept at setting one -- and equally vulnerable to tumbling in. Spies use sex, intelligence, and the thrill of a secret life as bait. Cleverness, training, character, and patriotism are often no defense against a well-set honey trap. And as in normal life, no planning can take into account that a romance begun in deceit might actually turn into a genuine, passionate affair. In fact, when an East German honey trap was exposed in 1997, one of the women involved refused to believe she had been deceived, even when presented with the evidence. "No, that's not true," she insisted. "He really loved me."Many of the others involved in the spy ring blended in to their surroundings so as to avoid arousing suspicions.
Those who aim to perfect the art of the honey trap in the future, as well as those who seek to insulate themselves, would do well to learn from honey trap history. Of course, there are far too many stories -- too many dramas, too many rumpled bedsheets, rattled spouses, purloined letters, and ruined lives -- to do that history justice here. Yet one could begin with five famous stories and the lessons they offer for honey-trappers, and honey-trappees, everywhere.
The ring may have been operating for more than a decade, but it doesn't appear that they purloined much in the way of national secrets or classified/sensitive data. So, while it may have been a well organized cell (or group of cells), it was out of date as a means of gathering the kind of information being sought.
Video showing Chapman in her own words: