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World War II's 'Agent Fifi' test and the history of female spies

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Posted at 3:00 PM, Sep 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-17 15:00:39-04

Sometimes legends turn out to be more fact than fiction. That's exactly what happened in the case of legendary femme fatale Agent Fifi.

On Wednesday the U.K.'s National Archives confirmed that Agent Fifi was real and that her name was Marie Christine Chilver. The British secret intelligence, or Special Operations Executive, would send spies in training on test missions during World War II. It was then that Chilver would come into play.

The National Archives writes in a blog post: "Fifi was sprung on the students by surprise. Expecting to meet some contact during their schemes, students were instead met by a stunning blonde — apparently, a French freelance journalist named 'Christine Collard' — offering them help." 

Chilver would then use her intelligence, judgment of character and keen listening skills to extract information some of the trainees. There were rumors she seduced them to accomplish this, although her file doesn't confirm those claims.

Chilver's reports often spelled doom for those students who shared information. If the student revealed too much, he was failed and fired. Eventually word of Chilver's escapades spread through the ranks of students.

Chilver, who died in 2007, wasn't the only famous female spy in World War II. History is full of stories of legendary female operatives from the era.  

For a look at some of the more famous ones, watch this Newsy video.