CLOAK AND DAGGER
Any operation that involves some intrigue, especially the melodramatic undercover activities of those involved in espionage or other secret work.
Cloak-and-dagger plays were swashbuckling adventures popular in the seventeenth century. In France, a performance of this type was known as a comédie de cape et d’épée and this is the direct source of the English phrase “cloak and dagger”.
The name also appears in the Spanish comedias de capa y espada, literally “comedies of cloak and sword”, particularly those by the Spanish dramatists Lope De vega (1562-1635) and Calderòn (1600-81), although their plays were dramas of merely domestic intrigues.
Taken from: Judy Parkinson, Spilling the Beans on the Cat’s Pyjamas, Michael O’Mara Books Limited