No taste of honey for French spies

No taste of honey for French spies

DGSE: Headquarters of France’s MI6 in Paris Photo credit: CC/Tangopaso

Russia’s intelligence service learnt years ago that trying to enmesh a French spy in a honeytrap was a waste of time.

In the recently-aired documentary The Making of Secret Agents, France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) – equivalent to MI6 – explained that Moscow knows that using a sexual indiscretion to blackmail an agent was “ineffective.”

Speaking during the 90-minute programme with a blurred image and an altered voice, a DGSE member identified only as Nicolas, gave details of the “French paradox” often mentioned by defectors from the Soviet Union.

“If you surprised a Frenchman with a mistress by telling him he’d been caught red-handed with a 22-year-old called Tatyana, ‘work for us or we’ll tell your wife’, it didn’t get results,” Nicolas said.

“That was because he generally said: ‘Go ahead, show her, she’ll understand,’ or ‘she already knows about it’.”

The documentary also exploded the James Bond myth.  The DGSE spies were “ordinary people doing extraordinary things using exceptional means” according to Bernard Emie, director of the DGSE until January 2024.

The agency’s cooperation with the documentary has also been interpreted as a response to the criticism the DGSE has received for a run of perceptible reversals.

The 65-year-old former spy chief, who was a diplomat before taking over at the DGSE in 2017 strongly rejected claims that French intelligence was caught off guard in 2022 when Russian troops began massing at the Ukrainian border in February 2022.

Emie also stressed the differences between France, the UK and the US regarding security.

“Anglo-Saxons tended to throw more money at seeking to make contacts, while the French rely more heavily on ulterior motives,” the DGSE’s ex-chief said.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at