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Thread: Recent Russian Intelligence Operations

  1. #1
    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Default Recent Russian Intelligence Operations

    10 people have been arrested in the Washington DC and NYC areas for allegedly attempting to commit espionage for Russia. The purpose of which was in order to "develop ties with American policymaking circles in order to feed information back to Moscow".

    Story just breaking,

    Here is a link to the breaking news

    http://www.aolnews.com/nation/articl...in-us/19534298

  2. #2
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Very odd

    Kevin,

    I am struck by the timing, especially as the BBC report implies deep cover agents at work for a very long time.

    All of the arrested suspects, except Ms Chapman and Mr Semenko, have also been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

    Our correspondent says the arrests will come as quite a surprise, as relations between Washington and Moscow have warmed considerably in recent months. Just last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was in Washington having lunch with President Barack Obama.

    It is still unclear how the White House will react or how Russia will explain this, she adds.
    Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/us_...a/10442223.stm

    I assume the FBI would consult with the Attorney-General before taking action. Curious the money laundering charges for most of them.
    davidbfpo

  3. #3
    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Kevin,

    I am struck by the timing, especially as the BBC report implies deep cover agents at work for a very long time.



    Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/us_...a/10442223.stm

    I assume the FBI would consult with the Attorney-General before taking action. Curious the money laundering charges for most of them.
    From the sounds of it davidbfpo I would have to agree with you.

    However, I'm curious if these agents for the Russian Government were US- born American citizens or Russian nationals who immigrated who settled in the United States?

    I ask because from the names listed many of them sounds like they are indeed US born citizens.

    Also from a political POV I wonder how deep this discovery runs and whether these agents did obtain any success in their mission goals. In addition to add on to this, what will the damage to the Obama Administration's attempts at "resetting relations with Russia" be.

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    FBI Affidavit (37 page PDF) courtesy of the Globe

    FBI bagged one couple Sunday morning at Harvard Square in Boston; naturally they lived in the People's Republic of Cambridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin23 View Post
    However, I'm curious if these agents for the Russian Government were US- born American citizens or Russian nationals who immigrated who settled in the United States?

    I ask because from the names listed many of them sounds like they are indeed US born citizens.
    Looks like Russian born SVR Directorate 'S' "Illegals", trained to penetrate their target country by assuming a native identity. Completely new names and everything. It takes a very long time to train and then seed these operatives, and they are often the most elite of SVR recruits.

    They are frequently paired-up as couples, but sometimes operate solo. The Canadians nabbed an illegal operating solo around 2005-06.

  5. #5
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default U.S. Charges 11 With Acting as Agents for Russia

    WASHINGTON – In what law enforcements officials portrayed as an extraordinary takedown of a Russian espionage network, the Justice Department on Monday announced charges against 11 people accused of living for years in the United States as part of a deep-cover program by S.V.R. -- one of the successors to the Soviet-era K.G.B.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/wo.../29spy.html?hp

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    This gets better and better....

    She's a "practiced deceiver." Those are the words prosecutors used to describe Anna Chapman, a red-headed 28-year-old accused of spying for Russia.

    Chapman, a divorcee who appeared in a white T-shirt and designer jeans, stood before magistrate judge Ronald Ellis in a Manhattan federal court Monday evening along with four others arrested on charges of conspiring to act as "unregistered agents of a foreign government."
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/...n6628621.shtml

    Does anyone remember the Israeli spy network that was rolled up during the summer of 2001?
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    LONDON — One of the Cold War's most famous defectors says Russia may have as many as 50 deep-cover couples spying inside the United States.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/can...ItOfPDM43WMWoA

    Just 50???

    On Monday in federal court in Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz called the allegations "the tip of the iceberg" of a conspiracy of Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, to collect inside U.S. information.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...062901120.html
    Last edited by AdamG; 06-29-2010 at 12:42 PM.
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    Council Member Lorraine's Avatar
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    Two thoughts:

    1) Mann kann nie Wisson (you never know.)

    2) I guess the annually required online "Need To Know" classes might be onto something.
    "Sweeping imperatives fall apart in the particulars."

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    The funniest aspect of the careers of the 10 alleged Russian "agents" arrested in the US is how inept they were - and how apparently unsuccessful.

    They have not even been charged with espionage, only with not registering as agents, or representatives, of a foreign government and with money laundering.
    Some pretty humorous revelations here -
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_...a/10446390.stm
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any idea if these people are important enough for the Russians to arrest various westerners in order to make a trade?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I am struck by the timing, especially as the BBC report implies deep cover agents at work for a very long time.
    I'd guess the FBI has known about this for some time. I don't think they'd normally roll a network like this up right away, first impulse would be to try to use it to pass disinformation. The arrests suggest that any possible such use was not seen as particularly valuable, and of course that the timing was seen as useful.

    If the Russians make arrests to trade they will have to admit that this was in fact a spy network, so far they don't seem to be doing that. We'll see...

    Much of the media attention seems to be driven by the fact that one of the alleged spies is female and hot. Some things get more attention than others...
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 06-30-2010 at 01:32 AM.

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Russian spy ring: fact, parody and nostalgia
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010...rody-nostalgia

    The creator of Spooks on the Russian espionage scandal, its nostalgic spycraft and how fact can be less credible than fiction
    Also, a swanky spreadsheet on Googledocs of the 11 spies -
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?k...NTV9LZ3c#gid=0
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  13. #13
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    NEW YORK (AP) -- An alleged member of a Russian spy ring that authorities say operated under deep cover in America's suburbs vanished in Cyprus on Wednesday, a day after being released on bail.

    The man, who had gone by the name Christopher Metsos and was wanted in the U.S. on charges he supplied money to the spy ring, had been arrested Tuesday in the Mediterranean island nation as he tried to board a flight for Budapest, Hungary.

    On Wednesday, after a Cypriot judge had freed him on $32,500 bail, he failed to show for a required meeting with police, and authorities began searching for him.
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...TAM&SECTION=US
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  14. #14
    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Here is a further story on Mr. "Christopher Mestos" from the Cyprus Mail

    http://www.cyprus-mail.com/cyprus/va...-bail/20100701

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default R.I.P. Sergei Tretyakov

    As the story of the SVR illegals played out this past week, I trolled Google News searching for insight from former SVR officer Sergei Tretyakov to no avail. Sergei Tretyakov may be the most important spy for the United States since the end of the Cold War; it is believed that he spent 3 years as a US agent while he was still an SVR colonel in New York before he defected.

    So it is with great regret to learn that Sergei Tretyakov, at the age of 53, died June 13 of a heart attack at his home in Florida. Rest in peace, Comrade J.
    The story of Sergei Tretyakov is told in Comrade J.: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America after the End of the Cold War by veteran intelligence journalist Pete Early. Tretyakov also gave an extensive interview over a series of reports by WTOP titled "Escaping from the Iron Curtain".

  16. #16
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Cool

    Report Points to Russian Double Agent, by Clifford J. Levy. The New York Times, November 11, 2010.
    MOSCOW — A Russian newspaper reported Thursday that a senior official in Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service had provided the information that enabled the United States to break up a ring of Russian sleeper spies in June.

    The turncoat official, identified only as Colonel Shcherbakov, was said to have defected to the United States just before the arrests and was now being tracked by a Russian assassination squad, according to the newspaper, Kommersant, considered one of Russia’s most authoritative.

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    Default A common enough Russian name,

    Shcherbakov; but it would be ironic if "Col. Shcherbakov" is related to Alexander Shcherbakov, claimed to be a victim of the conspirators charged by Uncle Joe in the infamous Doctors' Plot.

    HT for keeping us up to date.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    A young Russian woman working in the House of Commons for the Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock is facing deportation as a suspected spy.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...per-agent.html
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  19. #19
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Recent Russian Intelligence Operations

    The Russian intelligence service's illegal use of the Canadian passport poses a “troubling threat” to the travel document's integrity, newly released federal memos warn.

    Canada “strongly deplores” the exploitation of its passport by Russian agents to establish a spy ring in the United States, say the internal Foreign Affairs Department records.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle2202598/

    The widow of former Russian FSB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko, who was murdered in London in 2006, admitted that her husband cooperated with the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6.
    At the reopened hearings in the case in London, Marina Litvinenko announced that she decided to disclose the information in the name of transparency of the investigation.
    http://rt.com/news/litvinenko-britis...e-lugovoy-979/
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Britain was behind a plot to spy on Russians with a device hidden in a fake plastic rock, a former key UK government official has admitted.Jonathan Powell, former chief of staff to prime minister Tony Blair, admitted in a BBC documentary that allegations made by the Russians in 2006 - dismissed at the time - were in fact true.

    "The spy rock was embarrassing," he said in the BBC2 documentary series, Putin, Russia and the West. "They had us bang to rights. Clearly they had known about it for some time and had been saving it up for a political purpose."
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...t-spy-russians
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