Spies and sex. It was just too tempting to resist.

With the iconic James Bond, spies became irresistibly sexy. From "The Man with the Golden Gun," starring Roger Moore with Maud Adams, left, and Britt Ekland.
(United Artists and Danjaq, LLC / AP)

“The former host of ‘Erotica Night’ at a Baltimore bookstore will be the first-ever female No. 2 official at the CIA,” Ben Jacobs and Avi Zenilman begin in their piece at the Daily Beast on the youthful reading habits of Avril Danica Haines.

Haines has been a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office, but the Daily Beast’s piece on President Obama’s choice for the key post says little about what she did there. Instead, it digs up some old Baltimore Sun reports from two decades ago, when Haines was in her 20s and ran a bookstore in Baltimore.

Over at Salon, Laura Miller calls it “an impressively sleazy bit of reporting” with several “weird, vaguely leering touches.” In particular, she points out a quote “from an admiring neighbor who recalls Haines rehabilitating her apartment in ‘jeans or a pair of shorts.’”

The Daily Beast’s own commentary section offers a hint of how poorly their foray into Haines’ bookstore past is being received by its readers, especially women.


“Good grief, the Daily Beast in [sic] the new National Enquirer,” wrote one reader.

“When will we be seeing the article about what male CIA officials read Penthouse or Playboy in college?” wrote another.

Haines’ bookstore experience was the focus of the Daily Beast piece. “Erotica has become more prevalent because people are trying to have sex without having sex,” Haines, then co-owner of Adrian’s, told the Sun in 1995. “Others are trying to find new fantasies to make their monogamous relationships more satisfying.... What the erotic offers is spontaneity, twists and turns. And it affects everyone.”

The Daily Beast writers splash a bit of that era’s erotica into their piece, including a passage from “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty,” by Anne Rice writing under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaire, which Haines is said to have read from back in 1995.

Considering the popularity and explicitness of the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the bestselling book of 2012, Roquelaire’s writing hardly seems shocking.


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