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Famous Female Spies and Spy Tools

Mata Hari was a beautiful woman who was famous for her dances, but she was not a successful spy. She agreed to spy for both the Germans and the French. The French however, decided she could not be trusted and set a trap for her. When she was discovered, she was executed after a two day trial.

Do you know anyone who is a spy?

Probably not. The most important part of becoming a spy is that no one can know that you are one.

Harriett Tubman

Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross; c. 1820 – March 10, 1913)

was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy

Although most famous for her service in the Underground Railroad – the organization that helped lead the American slaves to freedom, Harriette Tubman was also a spy for the Union during the U.S. Civil War.

She often went behind confedarate lines and was ASSUMED to be a slave (how ironic 🙂

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker became a French citizen in 1937.

was an American expatriate entertainer and actress in the 1920s who moved to France.

During World War II, she served as a secret informer for French intelligence. She wrote secret messages on her sheet music, using invisible ink!


Must be:

  • observant and accurate so they can report details and make smart moves.
  • have good memories.
  • have confidence and courage; the life of a spy can be very dangerous.
  • have a good sense of intuition and understanding of people.
  • have a strong curiosity.

Spies work in secret to gather information about an enemy and give that information to a “spy master,” the person who wants it. This secret information is called “intelligence.”

Spy tools

Spies use many different tools to gather information. They also must transmit information back to their home base.

  • Disguises

Spies disguise themseleves, or adopt a cover, so they appear the be someone else. They dress, talk and act like the character they portray. They try to infiltrate, or join, the enemy organization so they can gather intelligence. They have to be very careful. Their life depends on not getting caught.

  • Hidden Cameras

Spies often take pictures. Tiny cameras, hidden behind the button on a coat, could be used to take pictures of enemy agents, buildings or documents. Cameras have been hidden in briefcases, lipstick tubes and books.

  • Camouflage

Spies often hide their weapons in different ways. Explosive coal was used by the Germans during WW II. What looked like a large piece of coal was really hollow. Inside were explosives.

These pieces of coal were hidden in coal bins – when loaded into fires, they would explode.

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