A British diplomat was required to resign after a video of him in a brothel accompanied by two hookers in their underwear was posted on the internet.
The resignation of the British deputy consul-general in the Russian provincial town of Ekatarinburg is a reminder of the hazards of honeytraps staged by hostile intelligence agencies. A 37 year-old divorcee, James Hudson was recalled to London recently and required to resign after a four-minute video of him in a brothel accompanied by two hookers in their underwear was posted on the internet.
From an intelligence perspective, the release of the video suggests that if Hudson was pitched to compromise classified information, or perform other tasks under duress, he resisted the coercion and, paradoxically finds his diplomatic career ruined.
In a similar example, a British ambassador to Moscow, Sir Geoffrey Harrison, declared he had been compromised by his attractive Soviet maid, and returned to London instantly. In another case, John Vassall, then serving as secretary to the British naval attaché, was caught in a homosexual honeytrap and submitted to the blackmail until he was arrested in London in 1962, having haemorrhaged thousands of classified documents to his manipulative KGB controller.
The American, Norwegian and Canadian embassies have had very similar experiences, and on one memorable occasion the French military attaché was so impressed with his pictures that he asked for enlargements and extra copies for his friends!
Such bravado is unusual, but it demonstrates rather different cultural attitudes to the problem of sexual compromise. Hudson’s offence was not so much getting caught, but having the embarrassment of such public exposure.
Was Hudson pitched? Was the video released because he refused to cooperate? If a blackmail attempt was made, did it involve consular matters, such as visa applications, or real secrets? Answers to these questions will reveal whether Hudson fell foul of a local mafia or was a target for the FSB, in which case reciprocal action should be anticipated.