In the world of espionage, a 'Romeo' is a male agent sent to target vulnerable females working in sensitive positions in enemy countries. Marcus Wolf - King of the Romeos.
Romeo was the East German term, the Russians used 'Raven'. The equivalent female agent was a 'Juliet', or 'Swallow'. Sometimes these operations are called 'honeytraps'.
The acknowledged master of this process was the East German spymaster Marcus Wolf. In his autobiography he describes the three traits of a good Romeo; he:
- Was likeable.
- Knew how to make himself the center of attention.
- Listened well.
You don't go to them, have them come to you. You become the centre of the party, you buy the drinks, you tell the jokes. You're the life of the party. She will come to you.
Once contact was made, the process was
- Escalate the relationship.
- Reveal yourself as a spy, but for a friendly and innocuous country, somewhere like Sweden.
- Explain you are not a very good spy and you are going to be recalled because of your incompetence.
- Wait for the woman to volunteer to supply you with information, so you look more successful and can stay to continue the relationship.
These tactics worked over fifty times. In the end, NATO had to start monitoring all single females in sensitive positions to make sure they weren't in relationships with East German spies.
More information: Marcus Wolf's
autobiography Man Without A Face