Ten arrested in U.S. on charges of spying for Russia

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by EagleOne, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. EagleOne

    EagleOne Regular Member

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    Ten arrested in U.S. on charges of spying for Russia.,US spy accusations baseless:RU

    U.S. has arrested 10 individuals including eight “deep cover” agents on charges of spying for Russia; reminding the espionages episodes of the cold war era.

    The arrests were made on Sunday and Monday in Boston, New York, New Jersey and Virginia, the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday alleging that the group dubbed the “Illegals” was tasked by the Russian intelligence agency SVR to enter the U.S., assume false identities and carry out espionage activities.

    “These Russian secret agents work to hide all connections between themselves and Russia, even as they act at the directions and under the control of SVR, these secrets agents are typically called “illegals”, the FBI said in its complaint filed before a U.S. court on Tuesday.

    “Illegals” agents of the SVR generally receive extensive training before coming to the U.S.

    This training has typically focused on, among other things, including the use of brush-passes, short-wave radio operation and invisible writing; the use of codes and ciphers, including the use of encrypted Morse code messages, the creation and use of a cover profession; counter-surveillance measures, concealment and destruction of equipment, and materials used in connection with their work as agents and avoidance of detection during their work as agents,” the FBI alleged.

    Each of those charge sheeted — eleven in all including 10 arrested — faces up to five years in prison.

    Nine of them have also been charge sheeted for money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment.

    One of the defendants remains at large.

    The FBI said the arrests are a result of multi-year investigations.

    In a coded message in 2009, two of those charge sheeted were by their bosses in Russia to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and send intelligence reports to the Centre — the SVR headquarters.

    The charge sheet alleges that several of those arrested had received money from the Russian missions in the US dating back to January 14, 2000.

    The money at times were buried in the ground.

    “To further the aims of the conspiracy, Moscow Centre has arranged for the defendants clandestinely to communicate with the Russian Federation.

    In particular the conspirators have used, among other things, the secret communications methods — stenganography and radiograms,” it said.

    Those charged include: Christopher Metsos, Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy, Donald Heathfield, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills, Juan Lazaro, Vicky Pelaez, Anna Chapman and Mikhail Semenko.
    http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article491734.ece


    US spy accusations baseless, improper: Russia
    MOSCOW: Russia on Tuesday said US allegations that it had broken up a major Russian spy ring just days after President Dmitry Medvedev met Barack Obama in Washington were baseless and improper.

    US authorities said on Monday they had arrested 10 suspected spies who had recruited political sources and gathered information for the Russian government.

    "Such actions are baseless and improper," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "We do not understand what prompted the US justice department to make a public statement in the spirit of Cold War espionage."

    "We deeply regret that all of this has happened against the background of the relations reset declared by the US administration," it said.

    US authorities have charged 11 individuals with carrying out deep-cover work in the United States to recruit political sources and gather information for the Russian government.

    The individuals were accused of collecting information ranging from research programmes on small-yield, high-penetration nuclear warheads, the global gold market and trying to obtain background on people who applied for jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to criminal complaints filed in a US federal court.

    The justice department accused them of operating under orders of Russia's SVR agency as "illegals"; the term applied in the intelligence world to agents infiltrated to live and operate under false identities, rather than officers who use diplomatic cover or other legitimate cover.

    Authorities said 10 of them were arrested on Sunday in Boston, New York, New Jersey and Virginia on charges including conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation and money laundering.

    Moscow has repeatedly accused Western powers of maintaining spying operations against Russia despite the end of the Cold War. Western powers also complain of Russian activity, especially in the commercial and scientific area.

    Blow to Obama

    The allegations come just days after Obama hailed a "reset" in ties between the former Cold War rivals when the two leaders met in Washington.

    Medvedev last week toured the United States to try to show that Russia is building an innovative, investor-friendly economy. The US justice department announced the arrests hours after Medvedev returned to Russia from a G20 summit in Toronto, which was also attended by Obama.

    "The choice of timing was particularly graceful," foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists during a trip to Jerusalem.

    Russian analysts said the timing suggested it was an attempt by US officials to undermine the reset, which Obama's administration has hailed as a major foreign policy achievement.

    "It's is a slap in the face to Barack Obama," said Anatoly Tsyganok, a political analyst at Moscow's Institute of Political and Military Analysis. Russia will inevitably follow Cold War etiquette and uncover an equal number of US spies, he said.

    The chief spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he had no comment on the spying allegations and said the allegations were unlikely to be discussed during Putin's meeting on Tuesday with former US President Bill Clinton in Moscow.

    The chief spokesman for the SVR foreign intelligence service, Sergei Ivanov, said: "There will be no comment."

    The goal of the alleged spies was to "become sufficiently 'Americanised' such that they could gather information about the United States for Russia and can successfully recruit sources who are in, or are able to infiltrate, United States policy-making circles", according to court papers.

    One alleged spy was accused of sending back information about leadership changes at the CIA.

    The US justice department said they received extensive training in coded communications, how to evade detection and how to pass messages to other agents while casually brushing past them in public places.

    The arrests are the culmination of a multi-year investigation that used extensive surveillance of communications and wiretaps, including putting listening devices into the homes of the accused individuals, the justice department said.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...eless-improper-Russia/articleshow/6106337.cms
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
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  3. BunBunCake

    BunBunCake Regular Member

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    Guys, Funniest comments from CNN

    robbb:
    "Yeah, they infiltrated my boxers last night."

    "Accius: The Hollywood version of this is going to be so epic. I love that stuff like this still happens."

    "smartygirl:
    And people are worried about the Mexicans coming to this country..."
    <-- lol

    "rdrock180:
    Now that they found these spies, next step is to convict them in court and give them the needle."

    AlertSooner:
    "So what do you want to do now? Attack Russia?"
    <-- lol

    ZOOMER165: "we need to secure all of our borders and stop all illegals from jumping the border...."
    Reply to Zomer: Purnell: "do you think these guys rowed over from Russia"
    <-- ROFL!

    STORYBURNis:
    The Cold War died twenty years ago, dude. Give it up

    robbb: "All I know is that Russian Operatives are great in bed."

    JustAnIdiot: I wonder how many tax dollars this investigation is wasted.

    "lochlan: So, I'm guessing Russia will arrest a couple of Americans and say in their media they caught a bunch of American spies.
     
  4. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

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    Source:
    http://news.rediff.com/report/2010/jun/29/russia-fumes-at-arrest-of-10-spies-in-us.htm

    Russia fumes at arrest of 10 'spies' in US

    Russia [ Images ] on Tuesday fumed over the arrest of 10 suspected spies in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an incident reminiscent of the Cold War hostilities, warning it would be a blow to the Obama-Medvedev 'burger' diplomacy and the 'reset' in the bilateral ties.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow [ Images ] wanted an explanation from the United States over the arrest of the Russian 'spies.'

    "They have not explained to us what is going on. I hope they will," Lavrov told mediapersons following talks with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem, adding "the only thing I can say is that the timing was chosen with a particular care."

    The US Department of Justice said yesterday that 11 people had been charged as "unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States."

    Ten of them were arrested on Sunday and the other one remains at large, the department said in a statement. Later the 11th suspect was detained in Cyprus.

    The Russian foreign ministry in a strongly worded statement expressed its regret over the scandal.

    "We do not understand why the US Department of Justice issued a public statement inspired by Cold War-era 'spy games'. We would like to mention that such incidents have taken place more than once before, at the times when our relations were improving," the ministry said in a statement.

    A number of top Russian officials have described the move as an attempt to undermine trust in relations between Russia and the United States.

    Deputy Head of the Russian Parliamentary Security Committee Nikolai Kolesnikov told RIA Novosti that the scandal was orchestrated by people whose attitude to Russia was still based on Cold War-era stereotypes.

    "Many people involved in US politics view the recent warm spell in relations between the two countries as inappropriate," he said. The lawmaker expressed hope that Obama [ Images ] would "have enough wisdom to properly evaluate situation."

    Kolesnikov said it was first and foremost, a blow to president Obama himself, and his burger diplomacy, who had dined at burger caf last week with Medvedev.

    First Deputy Speaker of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Alexander Torshin urged the media not to over-hype the situation.

    "This is not a return to the Cold War, and I am sure this incident will not turn into a large-scale spy scandal," Torshin said.
     
  5. plugwater

    plugwater Elite Member Elite Member

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    Here is one of the Russian spies

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  6. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    The photo album of suspected Russian spy Anna Chapman and her ex-husband Alex

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  7. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    MI5 probing link between royals, accused Russian spy

    British intelligence agency MI5 is investigating an extraordinary link between the "glamorous" accused Russian spy Anna Chapman and the royals, following reports she haunted popular London hangouts in a bid to meet Princes William and Harry.

    According to a British tabloid, the red-haired 28-year-old daughter of a teacher and a Russian diplomat had the young princes clearly in her sights.

    In a report published Sunday, The Sunday Mirror suggests Chapman was fixated with the pair, going so far as to infiltrate their social circles to meet them.

    Following the split from her British husband Alex Chapman in 2005, Anna Chapman reportedly became a regular at the swanky London "Boujis" nightclub favoured by the young royals.

    Protecting the royals in the club's atmosphere of hedonistic, alcohol-fuelled partying has long been a security headache. So much so, Prince Charles reportedly banned the pair from the club in the summer of 2006, after a pair of bloody brawls on its doorstep.

    Now, no one can say for sure whether Chapman ever rubbed shoulders with the Princes. But Garry Toffoli of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust thinks the mere attempt is cause for concern.

    "I think the attempt would be worrying because of the possibility of a successful encroachment into the circle of the Royal family (is) potentially damaging."

    But Toffoli says the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    "George Washington authorized a plan to kidnap Prince William during the American Revolution," Toffoli told CTV News. "The Royals were worried about American spies, now they're worried about Russian spies. Some things don't change."

    The Sunday Mirror reports that Chapman did manage to meet royal confidant Jake Parkinson-Smith several times before the Boujis general manager was fired after being caught with cocaine.

    Chapman also befriended London socialite Shoshana Dadoun.

    Beside Boujis, Chapman was also a regular at other royal haunts including the nightclubs Movida and Tramp, as well as the Japanese restaurant Nobu.

    Chapman left London for the U.S. in 2007.

    In late June of this year, Chapman and nine other alleged spy suspects were arrested in the United States. According to the indictment, she was caught communicating with the Russian intelligence service, the SVR, using a computer attached to a wireless network at a Starbucks coffee shop in January, and two months later from a bookshop.

    She faces a charge of conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, which carries a potential penalty of five years in prison.

    Prepared with files from CTV's Joy Malbon

    http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/lo...ls-boujis-100704/20100704/?hub=TorontoNewHome
     
  8. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    Russia, US to swap spies

    MOSCOW: Russia and the United States are working out a spy swap involving Russians recently arrested in the United States and people convicted of spying in Russia, the brother of an imprisoned nuclear researcher said on Wednesday.

    Officials from both the United States and Russia refused to comment on the report but Dmitry Sutyagin said he had plenty of details on the swap from his brother Igor, who is serving a 14-year prison sentence on charges of spying for the United States.

    In addition, there were signs in the United States that something might be under way. A hearing for three alleged spies was canceled in Virginia, US officials were meeting with the Russian ambassador in Washington, and two other alleged spies waived their right to a local hearing in Boston and were being sent to New York.

    Igor Sutyagin was told by Russian officials that he and other convicted spies are to be exchanged for the 10 Russians arrested by the FBI last month, his brother said. US officials were also at the meeting held Monday at a prison in Arkhangelsk, in northwestern Russia, his brother said.

    Sutyagin said he is to be flown to Vienna and then to London on Thursday for a planned exchange, according to his brother and his lawyer.

    Sutyagin said he was forced to sign a confession, although he maintains his innocence and does not want to leave Russia, his homeland, his brother said. After the meeting, Sutyagin was transferred to Moscow's Lefortovo prison.

    Sutyagin was arrested in 1999 and convicted in 2004 on charges of passing information on nuclear submarines and missile-warning systems to a British company that investigators claimed was a CIA cover.

    According to his brother, Sutyagin said the Russian officials had shown him a list of 11 people to be included in the swap. The brother said Sutyagin only remembered one other person on the list -- Sergei Skripal -- a Russian army colonel who in 2006 was sentenced to 13 years on charges of spying for Britain.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Federal Penitentiary Service said they had no comment on the claim and a spokesman for the US Embassy was not immediately available for comment.

    In Washington, both FBI spokesman William Carter and the State Department declined to comment. However, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, a former American ambassador to Moscow, had a Wednesday meeting scheduled with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

    Officials declined to comment on the reason for the meeting. The spy swap, if confirmed, would continue a pattern of spy exchanges began during the Cold War. In one of those most famous cases, downed US U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was exchanged for KGB spy Col. Rudolph Abel in 1962.

    Sutyagin has all along denied that he was spying, saying the information he provided was available from open sources. His case was one of several incidents of Russian academics and scientists being targeted by Russia's Federal Security Service and accused of misusing classified information, revealing state secrets or, in some cases, espionage.

    The United States arrested 10 people on June 27 and charged them with being in an alleged spy ring that trying to obtain information about American business, scientific and political affairs. Prosecutors say for the last decade the alleged spies engaged in secret global travel with false passports, secret code words, fake names, invisible ink and encrypted radio.

    They have been charged with acting as unregistered foreign agents.

    All of those arrested in the US are still being detained and the US government has opposed granting them bail. Anna Chapman, 28, was denied bail. US citizen Vicky Pelaez was granted $250,000 bail with electronic monitoring and home detention but the government is appealing the decision.

    A scheduled Wednesday court hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, was postponed for three suspects in the Russia spying case -- Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills and Mikhail Semenko -- according to defense lawyer Daniel Lopez, who represents Semenko. Lopez refused to elaborate.

    At another US hearing on Wednesday, a Boston-area couple in the case -- Donald Heathfield and his wife, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, of Cambridge, Mass. --waived their right to identity and detention hearings in Boston and will go to New York to answer the spy charges.

    An 11th suspect in the spy ring, Christopher Metsos, was arrested in Cyprus last week, but disappeared after being released on bail, triggering a manhunt by embarrassed Cypriot authorities.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Russia-US-to-swap-spies/articleshow/6140041.cms
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Spies return to Russia and US after Vienna airport swap

    Russia and the US conducted the biggest spy swap since the Cold War on Friday, flying home 14 agents after an exchange at a Vienna airport.

    An American jet carrying 10 members of a Russian spy ring caught in the United States arrived from New York and parked next to a Russian government jet which brought four Russians jailed for working for Western nations.
    Russia confirmed that a deal had been agreed with the United States aiming to end the biggest spy scandal between them in two decades.The US jet landed in Washington on Friday evening, and the CIA was expected to whisk the agents to a safe house for a long debriefing. The plane reportedly dropped two of the four men off in Britain en route.
    The Russian foreign ministry said the bargain involved the "return to Russia of 10 Russian citizens accused in the United States, along with the simultaneous transfer to the United States of four individuals previously condemned in Russia."
    The United States sent back the 10 Kremlin agents late on Thursday after they appeared in a New York court and pleaded guilty to acting as illegal agents for Moscow. They were ordered expelled from the United States.
    The four released by Russia include three men convicted for spying for the West in well-publicised cases and another more shadowy individual about whom far less is known. A plane carrying the four on Friday night landed at Dulles airport, outside Washington, after stopping briefly at Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire. It was not known how many of the four were still on board the plane when it arrived in the US. It had been reported that at least one of the four, a former informant for MI6, would stay in Britain.
    The case threatened to set back improving Russia-US relations but the Russian foreign ministry said its outcome showed that the "reset" spearheaded by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev was working.
    "The current agreement gives us reason to believe that the course agreed by the leadership of Russia and the United States will be realised in practice and attempts to divert the sides from this course will not meet with success."
    The Russian spies, all arrested on June 27, included Anna Chapman, whose semi-nude pictures and racy romances made her a global sensation.
    "I hope that I will soon be able to see and embrace my daughter," Mrs Chapman's mother, Irina Kushchenko, told the lifenews.ru news website.
    Despite the diplomatic storm caused by the spy ring, the group appeared to have been amateurish and made little impact in the decade since being formed.
    "No significant national security benefit would be gained from the prolonged incarceration in the United States of these 10 unlawful agents," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
    Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, described an "extraordinary case developed through years of work by investigators, intelligence lawyers, and prosecutors."
    In the final court session, several of the defendants acknowledged using fake names to hide in deep cover. The defendants living as Richard and Cynthia Murphy were really Vladimir and Lydia Guryev, while Donald Heathfield's true name was revealed to be Andrey Bezrukov.
    Peruvian-American journalist Vicky Pelaez, a firebrand columnist with New York's Spanish-language El Diario newspaper, gave a tantalising hint of more James Bond-style activities, saying in Spanish through an interpreter that she "brought a letter with invisible ink" to her contact.
    Russia went to great lengths to ease the deal, sending consular officials to the detained 10 to describe "the life these defendants might be returning to back in Russia," a US prosecutor said.
    The four jailed convicts in Russia were forced to confess their crimes in order to be pardoned by President Dmitry Medvedev, a move that has already caused concern among rights activists.
    The best known of the four is arms control expert Igor Sutyagin, who was convicted in 2004 of spying for the United States through a British company.
    Also to be exchanged was Sergei Skripal, a former colonel with Russian military intelligence sentenced, ex-Russian Foreign Intelligence agent Alexander Zaporozhsky and Gennady Vasilenko about whom far less is known.
    The last high-profile swap was back in 1984, when US journalist Nicholas Daniloff was expelled from Russia the day before Gennady Zakharov, a Soviet official at the United Nations, came the other way after appearing for less than five minutes before a New York court.
     
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Why Doesn't the FBI Prosecute More Spies?

    The logic behind swapping the Russian agents rather than bringing them to trial.
    By Asha Rangappa

    After a tantalizing two weeks involving the arrest of 10 Russian intelligence agents in three U.S. cities, the anticlimactic denouement came yesterday with a spy-swap deal between the United States and Russia in which the accused spies will go free after spending just 10 days in jail. It may seem odd to end a 10-year investigation on suspected foreign agents this way, even if their intelligence amounted to Google searches and pool-party gossip. But given the way the FBI normally deals with spies, putting them in jail probably wasn't its only goal in the first place.Relative to the large number of foreign spies tracked and monitored by the FBI, very few are brought to light through criminal prosecution. This is partly due to the limited number of laws against spying. Apart from the federal espionage statute, which requires prosecutors to prove the intentional passage of classified information, the only law against spies (and the one under which the latest Russian agents have been charged) is the Foreign Agent Registration Act. FARA requires anyone acting on behalf of a foreign government to register as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice. If you're caught breaking the law, the penalty is fairly weak: five years in prison. Only four criminal cases have been brought under the statute since 1966. The dearth of spies prosecuted under either the espionage statute or FARA reflects the FBI's reluctance to lay all of its cards on the table, which is what it generally has to do at trial in a criminal case.
    In the game of spy vs. spy, the FBI's strongest weapon is keeping its adversary from knowing what it knows. The investigation into the 10 Russian spies shows that Russia's foreign intelligence service, the Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki (successor to the KGB) apparently felt confident that it was operating undetected. Working under this assumption, the SVR unwittingly enabled the FBI to collect a steady stream of information on the SVR's agents, contacts, interests, and capabilities. By staying behind the scenes, the FBI ensured that the SVR was giving up all these goodies for almost 10 years.Criminal cases, by contrast, are public, and unless a judge chooses to seal sensitive evidence, they require the government to present exactly what it knows. The criminal complaint against the Russian spies, many note, reads like a Cold War spy thriller, complete with secret rendezvous, false identities, and messages written in invisible ink. For the Russians, though, it should read more like a McKinsey report for how the SVR can improve its game. The complaint names—or, in spytalk, "burns"—the specific FBI agents who conducted this investigation. While FBI counterintelligence agents normally operate overtly—meaning that they don't have to hide the fact that they are with the FBI—they generally do not reveal the country whose agents they are targeting. Now that the complaint has revealed the identities of the SVR's adversaries, the Russian intelligence service can keep an eye out for the specific agents working against them in the United States. (The FBI could, of course, counter-counter-counter by moving these agents to a different target, but given their institutional knowledge and Russian expertise, that would be a loss for our intelligence capabilities).
    More significantly, the complaint reveals what the FBI knew about the SVR's tactics and tradecraft. For instance, the FBI learned that in addition to old-school techniques like the "brush pass" (casually exchanging bags between two people while passing), the Russians were using Web imaging encryption software to encode secret messages into ordinary pictures on the Internet, a technique known as steganography. Discovering and decrypting this software allowed the FBI to analyze more than 100 coded text files related to this investigation and likely more communications related to other classified investigations. Now that the SVR knows we know, it will no doubt improve its codes, or abandon this technique entirely, drying up a potential intelligence source for the FBI. (Other, less sophisticated notes to self for future SVR spies include not using bright orange bags, mentioning "Siberia" in conversations, or throwing cell phone receipts into the garbage.)
    Despite the information it reveals to the other side, criminal prosecution has been necessary and inevitable to stop exchanges of highly classified information such as the secrets passed on to the Russians by former FBI agent Robert Hansen. Still, even that case revealed more about the FBI's own shortcomings than about the Russians. After all, as a Russian counterintelligence agent himself, Hansen had the knowledge and training to outmaneuver the traditional techniques of his FBI colleagues for almost two decades. The investigation into his activities gave the FBI guidance on internal security loopholes that needed to be fixed. The FBI adapted accordingly, enhancing its computer security and requiring regular financial disclosures and polygraphs of its agents.
    Trading the Russian spies makes sense to ensure that the FBI doesn't leak any more than it already has. But in light of what the FBI lost to the Russians with Hansen, officials must have thought carefully before making the decision to arrest the spies at all. The FBI's Russian counterintelligence program is the agency's oldest and the most protective of its methods and sources. Its agents were well-aware that they were killing (or at least maiming) the goose with the golden eggs by making this case public, and only an anticipated benefit would justify the injury. One possibility is that the arrests were necessary to force the SVR to shut down other activities that pose a greater threat to national security—one that the American public will never know about. Another may be that these arrests will serve to as an example to more important spies on the FBI's radar and help persuade them to work for us as double agents rather than risk being sent home, or to jail. What is certain is that the FBI must have thought it had more to gain than lose—otherwise, the normal course of business would have been to let the spies continue their charade, at the Russians' expense.
     

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