Russian Sleeper Agent Caught Spying on NATO

For the past year many in the know have been suspecting that the sophisticated Russian diplomatic maneuvers on the US missile defense shield are built on inside information on the project. Now a number of reports have emerged in the British press, pointing to a busting of what is probably an extensive network of Russian-handled spies in Estonia. Herman Simm, a high-level official at the Estonian defense ministry, has been arrested along with his wife on charges that he spied on behalf of Russian intelligence for over 10 years. Estonian and Western counterintelligence are still after his handler, who is known as “the Spaniard” because of his cover as a Spanish entrepreneur. Simm, who is described as a “sleeper” agent, was probably at the center of what can be said to be “the most serious case of espionage against NATO since the end of the Cold War”. This is not only because he was “responsible for handling all his country’s classified and top secret material on NATO”, but also because he was in charge of Estonia’s relatively advanced national cyber defense systems, as well as “for many years in charge of issuing security clearance[s]”. Perhaps more importantly, he is said to have been privy to crucial NATO information pertaining to the US missile shield project. No wonder an anonymous German official has described this latest Russian penetration of NATO as a “catastrophe”. This is not the first spy story to emerge out of Estonia since the end of the Cold War. Insiders will remember a story from ten years ago of a high-ranking Estonian police officer who defected to Britain on the run from FSB agents who were blackmailing him for recruitment purposes. [IA]

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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