Balmy and innocuous as it may sound, the honeytrap is anything but. A stock-in-trade for spying activities, it relies on amorous indiscretions to spill secret, sensitive information. Understandably, using a sexual bait is the most assured, and fastest, move that can break much ice without breaking into, well, too much of a sweat. The powerful but fallible remain vulnerable to the young and the beautiful, a truism confirmed by the report of a lieutenant colonel of the Indian Army becoming a victim of the designs of a Bangladeshi woman operating (apparently at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence) through social networking sites on the internet.
Of course, the most life-weary cynic among you will argue that an army officer and his alleged seducer chatting online on Facebook hardly fit the rigorous demands of a classic honeytrap. The more imaginative among you can notch up the titillation by interpolating a video chat, but even that would be poor compensation for the sort of heat (for want of a better word) generated by Mata Hari, the seductress executed by the French during World War 1 on suspicions of being a German spy, or even a Christine Keeler, who embarrassed the Harold Macmillan government by her somewhat indiscriminate choice of bed partners, right from British ministers to Soviet diplomatic attachés.
For its part, the Indian Army has played down the possibilities of espionage, arguing that its probe was looking into why the officer would have contact with a foreign national without adequate authorisation. What we rue is how increased connectivity has played spoilsport with human ingenuity, and how lengthy tales of passion, ruthlessness and betrayal have now been replaced with what at best can be pinging on awkward, impersonal platforms. If this is indeed the way of the flesh in our networked world, we suggest coining a new term for such acts. Honeytrap is way too voluptuous a word to be thus bandied.