In the Star Wars Mythos, some piece of vital information is leaked, with the remark, "Guard it carefully, many Bothans died trying to obtain it..."

This is all we know of the Bothans. Otherwise, zip, zero. The idea is Rikki, don't lose that number, we don't want to have to go through this again. In fan fiction, the Bothans are a race of master spies, who will go through whatever it takes...etc.

Calm down. Let's talk about the idea of a 'planet' of spies. Earth is a planet. It contains many, many languages, ethnic groups, and people who deal with who they are in the face of an industrial culture that may or may not be the optimal one. Each individual can choose to go with or oppose the flow. And yet, we are supposed to imagine a "Bothan" in the same way we used to imagine a "Chinaman" or a "nigger", that is, totally predictable. Of course, he was trained in thievery as a child, and how to make codes unbreakable to most non-Bothians as an adolescent. He never went through a period of doubt over his ancestral role, that simply doing one's job wouldn't be better. No! He's a Bothan!

A lot of what this comes from is the sort of dog-anthropology colonialists put forth in the Fifteenth through the early Twentieth centuries - upon finding a tribe, or island full of people who seemed to have but one focus to their lives, they dutifully wrote it down -- they have sex, they fight, they XXX, ooh, how primitive!

By the time of pulp fiction, and the serial movies upon which Star Wars was based, this was so reflexive as to be unremarkable. Unfortunately, what feels comfortably ordinary to one generation, rankles the next...