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Matilda Gifford has said she was approached by officers a few weeks after she was arrested in a protest at Aberdeen Airport in March.
The 24-year-old is a member of the anti-airport expansion group Plane Stupid.
In meetings at a police station and later in a cafe, which she recorded, Ms Gifford claimed she was offered financial rewards for information on the organisation.
She said the officers made a cash-in-hand offer as if it was paid into her bank account it could compromise her by leaving an audit trail.
She also said they warned her that her protest activities might damage her future job prospects.
The experience has left Ms Gifford feeling intimidated.
She told Sky News: "They were offering me taxpayers' money and a business proposition... these were deeply unsavoury tactics.
"They were playing games and scaremongering about other individuals in my group."
Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton confirmed that officers from Strathclyde Police had been in contact with a number of Plane Stupid members, saying the force had "a responsibility to gather intelligence".
"The purpose of this contact has been to ensure that any future protest activity is carried out within the law and in a manner which respects the rights of all concerned," he told the Guardian.
Following the release of the tapes to the newspaper, some political groups called on Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to clarify police practice.
Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie claimed public confidence in the police was "rapidly eroding".