I have met one or two spies over the years. I think of it as the law of averages. And beverages.
Live in enough places and get involved in enough businesses and bars and, well, someone must have a hidden agenda, right?
So the story of Anna Chapman, the alleged Russian Mata Hari with a wickedly inviting mien, has naturally been one of the more captivating elements of the week.
Chapman is accused, among other things, of taking her laptop to coffee shops and transmitting all sorts of secrets to fellow Russians who might not have had American fellowship as their priority.
However, what is perhaps equally fascinating is that she was allegedly an internet entrepreneur. Indeed, an interview has emerged, on CNN and elsewhere, of Chapman explaining her online real estate business at New York Entrepreneur Week in April.
The site claims to be "a large, user-friendly source of current offers on NYC apartments, real estate news, and other property information. Our database features over 20,000, daily-updated listings of NYC apartments and other type of property rentals. Our ultimate goal is to eliminate the obstacles that come up during your search for a new home."
How this is unique, only higher entities can surely muster.
In the interview, Chapman says she set up her online business purely to help people. She claimed to have been disappointed by online offerings when she herself was looking to get a New York apartment. She claimed to have been an investment banker and so au fait with technology that she just knew what would be required to make an online real estate business a success.
Those of a suspicious nature will, no doubt, alight upon her stated need to "unite information in the same space." She firmly declares herself to be in favor of payment that is "performance-based". She believes that dreams really do come true if you act on your instincts.
Chapman seems like so many people you might meet at a cocktail party, a hotel bar, or an Upper East Side Starbucks. She exudes a sophistication that might turn out to be slightly less deep than its veneer. She offered, for example, a little amazement about how "successful people are so down to earth."
Many will, on watching this footage, be wondering if these really are the face and lyrics of a Russian spy. Some will wonder whether there are others in the web of Webworld who might be working for more than their stated masters.
Some, though, might wonder whether quite a few online entrepreneurs think and act just as Chapman does in this video. They attempt to look the part, and hope that someone, somewhere invests enough money for them to blithely become the part that they look.