During the Korean War, United States Air Force pilots reported that the Soviets' new MiG-15 jet fighter was superior to all United Nations aircrafts. The US was desperate to get its hands on one and so secretly designed what they would call 'Operation Moolah'. The operation was an effort to get a Communist pilot to defect and fly his MiG-15 to South Korea, undamaged.
Operation Moolah was approved on March 20th, 1953 and offered $50,000 to any Communist pilot who defected, with an additional $50,000 to the first to do so. The plan also guaranteed political asylum, resettlement in a non-Communist country, and anonymity if desired.
In September of the same year, Lt. No Kum-Sok of the 2nd Regiment, Korean People's Air Force, flew a MiG-15bis to South Korea and gave it up. He was unaware of the operation, however, and later stated that he didn't think money would motivate any North Korean Pilot to defect. No was urged by the CIA to take a free education at an American institution of his choosing instead of the $100,000 reward.
The aircraft, as well as the information No provided, proved very helpful to the United States and their allies. No was questioned numerous times over the course of months after his defection.
Nobody's certain where the idea for Operation Moolah came from. One story is that it originated in the Army's Psychological Warfare Branch, while another is that the idea was thought up by an unidentified war correspondent. One thing both versions of the story agree on is that the idea was first circulated as a rumor.
Although there was a defection, it's hard to say that the operation was successful. Similar operations have been carried out by various nations since, only one of which—Operation Diamond—was undoubtedly successful.