Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Russian "Illegal" Spies Lived Like Normal Americans

by the Left Coast Rebel

The New York Times has an interesting story up regarding the 11 people (so called ''illegals") supposedly living unremarkable, suburban American lives yet spying (for years) for the S.V.R. (the successor to the KGB):

The alleged agents were directed to gather information on nuclear weapons, American policy toward Iran, C.I.A. leadership, Congressional politics and many other topics, prosecutors say. The Russian spies made contact with a former high-ranking American national security official and a nuclear weapons researcher, among others. But the charges did not include espionage, and it was unclear what secrets the suspected spy ring — which included five couples — actually managed to collect.
The details sound like they are straight out of an Iam Fleming story:

Criminal complaints filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday read like an old-fashioned cold war thriller: Spies swapping identical orange bags as they brushed past one another in a train station stairway. An identity borrowed from a dead Canadian, forged passports, messages sent by shortwave burst transmission or in invisible ink. A money cache buried for years in a field in upstate New York.

But the network of so-called illegals — spies operating under false names outside of diplomatic cover — also used cyber-age technology, according to the charges. They embedded coded texts in ordinary-looking images posted on the Internet, and they communicated by having two agents with laptops containing special software pass casually as messages flashed between them.
And like I said, they completely blended in in suburbia and even had American born children:
Neighbors in Montclair, N.J., of the couple who called themselves Richard and Cynthia Murphy were flabbergasted when a team of F.B.I. agents turned up Sunday night and led the couple away in handcuffs. One person who lives nearby called them “suburbia personified,” saying that they had asked people for advice about the local schools. Others worried about the Murphys’ elementary-age daughters.
UK's Telegraph explains that this bunch weren't quite the harmless middle-classers that they appeared to be (also, I wonder if even they were shocked by the corruption they found in our Congressional politics):

The FBI arrested 10 people for allegedly serving for years as secret agents of Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, with the goal of penetrating US government policy-making circles.

It is alleged that they were tasked with gleaning intelligence on nuclear weapons, foreign policy and Congressional politics.

The 10 arrested are accused of conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of a foreign government. Nine of them also face a charge of conspiracy to launder money.

An 11th suspect named "Christopher R Metsos" was arrested on Tuesday in Cyprus.

It also emerged that one of the 10 was in contact with a subsidiary group of Oxford University.

A subsidiary group of Oxford? What, the faculty and majority of professors? It wouldn't surprise me. After all, Putin was said to have waxed fondly for the 'glory days' of the USSR, perhaps leftist academics do too.

Discussion over at Memeorandum.

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