According to the Daily Mail reports MI6 spies have somehow smuggled Russian strategic defense secrets in a tea bag on board a Venezuela-bound supersonic bomber.
The goal was to obtain information about Russia’s Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO code name Blackjack) strategic bomber. They were apparently afraid it could become an elusive target for existing interceptors should a potential conflict ever arise.
After finding a liaison, MI6 agents allegedly stashed the information about the upgrades in a packet of Russian loose leaf tea. It was not revealed, however, whether the secrets were stored on an electronic device or the agents simply wanted to do some tea-leaf reading.
The tea bag somehow made its way on board of one of the two Tu-160s (the same aircraft that MI6 wanted to learn more about) that Russia sent to Caracas last December to conduct drills with the Venezuelan Air Force.
The Russian crew used the tea packet during the flight to Venezuela and then threw it away. The Daily Mail cited an anonymous intelligence official claiming that an agent retrieved the discarded tea bag from trash while the plane was refueling at an airport near Caracas, and then handed it over to a CIA officer who was staying at a hotel in the capital.
While there has been no official confirmation of this “operation” from any of the agencies allegedly involved, it is believed that Western air forces have used the information to adapt their interceptors to have a better chance in dealing with the upgraded Blackjacks.