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Double agent

Definition A double agent is a person who spies on a foreign government or entity while pretending to work as a spy for them. Essentially, they are employed by a security organization, but they act as though they are working against it. This complex duplicity enables the individual to gather critical information from the enemy […]


A double agent is a person who spies on a foreign government or entity while pretending to work as a spy for them. Essentially, they are employed by a security organization, but they act as though they are working against it. This complex duplicity enables the individual to gather critical information from the enemy and supply false intelligence in return.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Double Agent refers to a person who works as a spy for two opposing sides in a conflict, typically providing false information to one and true intelligence to the other. The concept is often utilized in intelligence, counterintelligence, military, and espionage operations.
  2. Double agents play a crucial role in deception, as they can manipulate the situation to the advantage of one side. This is achieved by misleading the adversary into taking certain actions or avoiding others that can ultimately compromise their overall strategy.
  3. The use of double agents requires careful selection, management, and control. There is always a risk of being deceived or the agent switching sides. Hence, agencies carry out intense scrutiny and examinations to determine the loyalty of the potential double agent.


The term “Double Agent” in military operations is important owing to its pivotal role in intelligence and counterintelligence strategies.

A double agent is an individual who spies on a foreign country while pretending to be spying on their own.

They provide false information to their initial handlers, manipulate intelligence, and effectively disrupt their initial operations, whilst accurately relaying critical information to their real loyalty side.

The masterful deception and game of trust exploited by double agents can greatly impact the course of military and intelligence operations, making them one of the most potent tools in warfare.

The use of double agents can cause misinterpretations, confusion, and discord in enemy ranks, rendering them crucial for strategic advantage and operational success.


A double agent is an important tool in the realm of military operations and counterintelligence, utilized to infiltrate enemy lines and propagate misinformation. The purpose of employing a double agent is to mislead the enemy, sowing seeds of deception and passing on deceptive information that can misdirect the enemy’s strategies and operations. A double agent, being trusted by the adversary, plays an influential role in creating confusion and ensuring that the enemy makes tactical errors based on the false intelligence they receive.

Utilization of a double agent ensures the flow of intelligence from the enemy camp to the agent’s original organization or country. This intelligence is crucial for understanding the enemy’s strengths, weaknesses, plans, and strategies. The acquired knowledge can then be used to develop countermeasures and make informed decisions.

In essence, a double agent works as a bridge between two conflicting parties, carrying information from one side to the other, while primarily serving the interests of one. The agent’s effectiveness lies in their ability to earn trust while maintaining deception.

Examples of Double agent

Eddie Chapman: A British national named Eddie Chapman was a notorious criminal before World War II. After being arrested for his crimes, he was sent to prison on the Isle of Jersey, which was later taken over by the Nazis. He then offered his services to the Nazis and trained as a spy to work against Britain. The Nazis dispatched him to Britain, but upon his arrival, Chapman offered his services to the British Intelligence agency MI5 instead. He became a double agent and fed false information to the Nazis while secretly helping the British.

Robert Hanssen: Robert Hanssen was an FBI agent for over two decades, during which he was also acting as a spy for the Soviets and later Russia. He handed over a considerable amount of information pertaining to US security and intelligence to the Soviets over the years, resulting in what has been termed as one of the most damaging betrayals in US history. However, his double-agent activities were discovered, and Hanssen was arrested in

Oleg Gordievsky: Gordievsky was a colonel of the KGB who became disillusioned with the Soviet system and offered his services to the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service. For almost a decade, Gordievsky passed the British a stream of valuable information about Soviet activities and plans, including the fact that the Soviets misinterpreted a NATO exercise as a possible nuclear first strike. This realization led to changes in Western policy and significantly helped to defuse tensions during the Cold War. When suspicion fell on him, Gordievsky was summoned back to Moscow and was later extracted in a daring rescue operation by the British.

FAQs about Double Agents in Military Operations

What is a double agent?

A double agent is a person who spies on a foreign entity on behalf of a host country but, unknown to the host, also spies on it on behalf of the foreign entity. Essentially, it’s an agent who works for two intelligence services, but who gives false information to one of them to benefit the other.

How does the military use double agents?

The military uses double agents to infiltrate enemy ranks, gain their trust, and then provide false or misleading information. This can throw off the enemy’s planning and operations, as they make decisions based on the unreliable information.

What are the risks involved in using double agents?

While double agents can provide valuable information, they also come with significant risks. There’s always a chance that the double agent could be discovered, or worse, that they’re actually a triple agent, feeding reliable information back to the enemy.

How does the military recruit and handle double agents?

Recruitment of double agents often involves leveraging some form of compromise, whether personal, financial, or ideological. Once recruited, handling double agents requires skillful and careful management to prevent their discovery or turnaround. It also sometimes involves validating the information they provide, through corroborative intelligence from other sources.

Related Military Operation Terms

I believe there might be some confusion. “Double agent” is a term commonly used in espionage and intelligence and doesn’t directly relate to VA (Veterans Affairs) benefits. However, I can provide a list of terms related to VA benefits. Here it is in HTML bullet point form:


  • Disability Compensation
  • Pension Program
  • Education and Training Assistance
  • Home Loan Guarantee
  • Health Care Benefits


If there are specific terms or topics you’d like me to cover within the scope of VA benefits or espionage, feel free to let me know!

Sources for More Information

  • CIA (Central Intelligence Agency): The official website of the United States’ primary international intelligence service. They provide a glossary that includes terminologies related to intelligence and espionage, including “double agent”.
  • FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation): The web portal of the premier domestic intelligence and security service of the US. Their extensive online resources might contain information on the subject of double agents.
  • Britannica: An online encyclopedia that provides comprehensive information on a wide range of topics, including double agents and related military operations terms.
  • HISTORY: This website by the History Channel features articles and videos on historical events and figures, including stories and profiles that may feature double agents.

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