News you may have missed #391 (Russia-US spy swap edition II)

  • Expelled spies to experience life in changed Russia. Like those before them, the sleeper spies who were deported to Russia last week in one of the biggest espionage exchanges in decades will probably miss the United States, picket fences and all. But what perhaps most distinguishes this affair from its cold war precursors is what awaits these Russians in their motherland.
  • Past Russian spies have found post-swap life gets a bit sticky. While life in Moscow may be duller than New York, Boston, New Jersey, Seattle and Washington, DC, where the 11 Russians charged last week allegedly lived as long-term, deep-penetration agents, it won’t be too bad, either, if their predecessors’ experience is any guide.
  • Life a nightmare for spies returning to Russia, says Soviet dissident. Vladimir Bukovsky, 67, a Soviet dissident exiled to Europe in a 1976 prisoner swap, says the Russian spies expelled from America to Russia last week “will go from living affluent lives with real freedom, to living under constant surveillance by the Russian secret services”.

Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

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. Read more of this post

FBI in hot seat over controversial use of informants

Craig Monteilh

Craig Monteilh

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, America’s primary domestic counterintelligence agency, is facing a storm of criticism over allegedly using informants to spy on Muslim and ultra right-wing groups. The most controversial of the two cases is arguably that of New Jersey talk radio host and blogger Harold “Hal” Turner, who has been described as a vocal supporter of white supremacist groups. Turner was charged last June for arguing on his blog that three Chicago federal appeals court judges “deserve to be killed”, and for posting photographs of the judges along with their work addresses and an area map of the Chicago federal courthouse. If convicted, Turner faces a $250,000 restitution fine and up to 10 years in prison. What is interesting, however, is that Turner told a judge that he was a paid FBI informant, code-named “Valhalla”, and was trained by the Bureau to infiltrate and monitor white supremacist groups. The FBI denied any connection to Turner, but The Bergen Record newspaper in New Jersey gained access to court records and verified the truth in Turner’s claims. Read more of this post

New CIA TV ads try to recruit Arab-, Iranian-Americans

CIA ad

CIA ad

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The CIA is preparing to launch two new television commercials in an attempt to increase Arab-American and Iranian-American CIA recruits. The commercials will specifically target US cities with significant Middle Eastern populations, such as Detroit and Newark. They will be premiered at a private screening on November 18 in Dearborn, Michigan, which is often described as “the heart of Michigan’s large Middle Eastern community”. The move follows a recent public-relations visit to Michigan by CIA director Leon Panetta, aimed at improving the tense relations between the US intelligence community and Muslim groups in the state. Read more of this post