A deliberately planted rumor can be nearly as deadly as a bullet, especially to a budding career. The idea of planting a rumor is to allow false and suspicious evidence about an enemy officer fall into the wrong hands. The information may not directly implicate him, but it will cast suspicion, and in espionage, suspicion is very hazardous to your health. Bit by bit, the incriminating trail of bread crumbs is embellished with more leaked information. Eventually, his agency may fear he’s a mole. At best, he will be demoted. At worst, he will be eliminated. Either way, the other side has been significantly weakened.