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In spy lingo, this is a covert operative whose job is to incite rebellion, entice defectors or goad the enemy into a foolish action. Even though it's a sexy French word, the Agent Provocateur got the short end of the sexy spy stick. They are looked down upon by...pretty much everyone.

It may have something to do with the fact that—as a Treacherous Advisor—they are inherently untrustworthy. One side (the Agent Provocateur's true alignment) believes they are inciting foolish, risky attacks against them, while the other side (the infiltratees) thinks they are inciting foolish, risky behavior in their friends.

Confused yet? That's probably why these guys aren't nearly as popular in fiction as they are in Real Life. In Real Life it's good if no one can figure out a covert operative's cover. In fiction, on the other hand...

Not necessarily one of Les Collaborateurs, though he or she may double as this. Not to be confused with a Honey Trap.


Examples


Anime And Manga

  • In Fullmetal Alchemist the Ishval uprising is supposedly the result of a soldier accidentally shooting an Ishval boy.
    • In the first anima adaptation a group of special forces had been tasked with starting the Ishbal uprising. This group of special forces is then used in experiments to create chimeras who are let loose after the 5th laboratory arc and expose the whole conspiracy. The story of the child getting shot is then spread around as a coverup.
    • In the manga and Brotherhood adaptation Envy posing as an Armestrian soldier shoots an Ishvalan child with the intent of causing the rebellion. The purpose of the homunculi is pretty much to starts wars.

Literature

  • A Civil Campaign: Byerly is actually an ImpSec agent working to support Lord Dono's claim to the countship. Or at least to actively encourage the rather extreme shenanigans Dono's rival attempts.
    • Byerly's job was merely to observe, and report any suspicious activity. His working as an agent provocateur against Richars was done entirely on his own. ImpSec had no official interest in which side won the Countship.
    • Frustrated by the inherently reactionary nature of his job as an Imperial Auditor, Miles briefly ponders the probability of convincing the Emperor to deploy an Auditor Provocateur.
  • The State Councilor novel contains enough of these to make Erast Fandorin swear he'll never take political cases again.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls: Gwen is falsly accused of being one.
  • Sten: Mercury Corps uses this as a matter of course. Sten incites rebellion on Vulcan by fulfilling the Mig folk story of "one of their own" who will get out, return, and lead them to freedom. Especially effective because he is, and does.
  • Nom Anor from the New Jedi Order, several times in different disguises.

Real Life

  • This is used often by the police, especially in regards to drug cases, asking to buy some drugs hoping the suspected drug dealer would agree, then catching them in the act.

Western Animation

  • Captain Barca from Exo Squad is one, constantly enticing younger Pirates to rebel against Simbacca, while on Phaeton's payroll.
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