FBI busts alleged Russian spy ring, 11 arrested [updated]

Anna Chapman

Anna Chapman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Ten members of an alleged Russian spy ring operating in America’s East Coast were arrested in a series of coordinated raids on Sunday. US Department of Justice insiders said that the arrests, which took place in Arlington, New Jersey, New York, and Boston, marked the culmination of an FBI counterintelligence operation initiated during the second administration of President Bill Clinton. It appears that the alleged Russian agents were non-official-cover (NOC) operatives, otherwise known as ‘illegals’, a term used to identify deep-cover intelligence operatives not associated with the diplomatic representation of the Russian Federation in the United States. Eight of the arrestees were married couples and all were using fake identities. Almost all are fluent in several languages; they include “Vicky Pelaez”, who worked for a New York Spanish-language newspaper, another woman identified as “Anna Chapman” (see photo), and “Mikhail Semenko”, who is said to be fluent in English, Spanish, Russian, and even Mandarin. An eleventh alleged member of the spy ring, named as “Christopher R. Metsos”, remains at large and is wanted by the FBI was captured by Greek-Cypriot authorities at Larnaca airport earlier today, while trying to board a flight for Hungary. Several of those arrested have been living “quiet, suburban lives” in the United States for up to 20 years. The aim of the alleged spy ring is said to have been to supply Moscow with intelligence on US defense policy, specifically nuclear weapons, as well as various Congressional activities. It appears that most of the alleged spy ring’s contacts were in the Washington, DC beltway, and included members of nongovernmental organizations, pressure groups, think tanks, and lobbyists. It is worth noting that the ten Russian NOCs have not been charged with espionage, but rather with “conspiring to act as unauthorized foreign agents” and “conspiracy to commit money laundering”.

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

7 Responses to FBI busts alleged Russian spy ring, 11 arrested [updated]

  1. Ove Larsen says:

    From SANS Institute:
    How to be a better spy: Cyber security lessons from the recent russian spy arrests:


  2. aol says:

    Spies Hid Secret Messages on Public Websites


  3. strategy says:

    Metsos was arrested in Cyprus!

  4. Ana Paula says:

    This is just a bad and cheap spy novel.

  5. Van says:

    The fact that at least some of these alleged spies had children who may not even have known that their parents were Russian (let alone spies) is quite dramatic.

  6. mupp says:

    “Christopher R. Metsos”
    Has apperently skipped out on the police in Cyprus. No one know’s where he is as of now.

  7. K says:

    These illegals getting caught like this is either one of two reasons, one the FBI Counterintelligence branch is really doing their job or two the illegal’s poor trade craft is a testament to the state of the intelligence services in Russia.

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