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Alleged Russian agent Anna Chapman could have warmed up any Cold War night

Accused Russian spy Anna Chapman became an instant Web sensation following the release of photos posted on the Russian social-networking Web site "Odnoklassniki," or Classmates.

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The three-minute video, entirely in Russian, is now going viral on YouTube, with plenty of salivating fans. "That's one hot Russian spy," Assaultman45 offers in the comments section. "Her punishment should be a date with me."

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It's so much easier when "From Russia With Love" is a total babe. It's all so Natasha, so Ninotchka, so Cold War retro. The things that Chapman has been accused of doing -- exchanging covert information with a Russian government official -- seem downright quaint when you read the Justice Department's description of the activities. There were code phrases -- Haven't we met in California last summer? -- and there were weekly Wednesday check-ins at a coffee shop. In the Red Scare 1950s, this would have been terrifying, but it sure beats a shoe bomber today.

Maybe this is why we've been treating Chapman more like she's June's Playmate and less like she's a threat to national security -- desperately seeking out her likes and dislikes, her hopes and dreams, as if we plan to take her for a romantic walk on the beach.

International news sites have also gotten in on the action: A profile on the Russian site LifeNews.ru claims that Chapman is the daughter of the former Russian ambassador to Kenya, that she was raised by her grandmother, that she studied economics at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia and once worked in banking.

In a second video interview, shot at New York Entrepreneur Week, Chapman speaks in English to an unseen interviewer, describing how she loves running her own Web site. Her voice is husky, her mannerisms both confident and girlish.

"She's very charming, attractive, very smart," says David Hantman, who works in New York real estate appraising and was introduced to Chapman through mutual friends. "I was surprised at how young she was to be in a position to negotiate with these big companies" that she said she was dealing with. "She had so much business acumen for someone so young."

Any other details you can release, David? Some other illusory detail for us to salivate over? Perhaps something personal?

"She's very social," Hantman says thoughtfully. "She enjoyed having her nails done."

The alleged spy loved manicures!

But throughout Wednesday, Chapman's Facebook friend list decreased, 168 in the morning, 161 in the afternoon, as her acquaintances presumably began to question whether they wanted to be affiliated with her, and how much they really knew about her to begin with.

"She's such a sweet person, I'd hate to see anything happen to her," Hantman says. "But if she's a spy, that's very disturbing."

Staff writer Kevin Sieff contributed to this report.


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