asset (in espionage context)

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Senior Member
‘And brave kids are hard to find. That’s one of the ways the world changed. Assets used to walk in the embassy door. They wrote begging letters. We used to turn some of them away. <>'
The men in suits waited outside, and Sinclair said, ‘Our asset was squeezed for every detail he had, and we think we can trust his conclusions.
Source: Night School by Lee Child

What does asset mean in the espionage context? I understand asset could mean a valuable person. Why do they to refer to their double agent as asset. Is it common to refer to agents as assets?

Thank you.
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