I could be way off base, but with the mention of honey-pot, and the usual references, information was gathered by seduction and compromising the target in a variety of ways in a sexual manner.
Examples might include...
putting the spy into a position to be noticed by the target and a relationship is formed as a mistress. As men are usually want to do in the post orgasmic state, skillful pillowtalk revealed bits of information that could then be expanded on in other ways by the spy. In essence, the spy is given access by being trusted by the target. Usually a long term situation for the spy.
The spy lures the target into a twist and the target is photographed (recorded) committing an embarrassing, or illegal act and is blackmailed into providing information, sometimes through the honey, or another source. Usually a short term assignment with a lot of targets who feel like they're in a safe place.
There are others, but as torture leaves marks and the idea was to generate continuous, long term sources, it would be frowned upon. If you just wantedbeat the information out of him, there were plenty of sources for that from the 1940's up to the mid 70's via POW's from a variety of wars, conflicts and so on.
The 50's, 60's and 70's were the times when the CIA and the KGB worked constantly toout-spy the other by using more subtle ways to get long-term sources. There was even an upper level CIA guy who got trapped in the historical honey-pot for several years. There's rumors of military officers, even personages in government service getting trapped (Senators/concilmen)
The Soviet honey-pot was very successful for a few years, then the CIA got wind of it and tried to do their own, less successful verion in the 60's. The chinese still use it.