2 worker, hand, employee; craftsman, craftswoman, artisan, mechanic, machinist:
We hired two more lathe operatives today.
3 private detective, (private) investigator, Colloq private eye, sleuth, Brit sleuth-hound, US P.I., gumshoe, Slang (private) dick, US shamus, eye:
Our operatives reported that Jones had been seen in the company of a known enemy agent
4 espionage or intelligence agent, counter-espionage or counter-intelligence agent, spy, counter-spy, undercover agent or man, (FBI or CIA) agent, US G-man, Colloq US company man, member of the firm:
We had an operative at the top level of the NKVD.