TIL that in an attempt to make his spy novels feel more authentic, author John Le Carré is credited with coining a number of terms for his fictional intelligence agency (terms like mole, honey trap, pavement artist, asset babysitter) which have become common terms used in real intelligence agencies.

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

You honey dickin me, bro?

AmanitaGemmata

There’s a literary technique called ‘fiction as fact’ or ‘false documents’ present in fiction that allows the author to boost the credibility of the story by building in these false documents and nomenclature to give worldbuilding a more real-world feel to it.

AudibleNod

LeCarre first used “honey trap” in relation espionage. But the idea had been used for a hundred years or so prior, usually as a simile, “like flies to a honey pot.”

Splunge-

He has a perfect introduction to one his Smiley novels. He talks about how everyone thought he had suddenly given away all these secrets about the way spy agencies work. He points out if he had someone would have absolutely stepped in to stop publication.

Animallover4321

His wiki mentions that before he released his book “mole” was a term the KGB would be use. Western intelligence agencies used “sleeper agent” as their term.

FoundEffective