Canada memos decry use of Canadian passports by Russian spies

Canadian passport

Canadian passport

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In June of 2010 media headlines were dominated by news of a Russian spy ring in the United States that was busted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On June 27, eleven people, all sleeper agents of the SVR, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, were arrested in early morning raids across several US states. The arrestees, who included media sensation Anna Chapman, were later exchanged for four alleged CIA agents serving time in Russian jails. What is less known however, is the fact that four of the members of the busted spy ring were claiming to be Canadian citizens. SVR operative Natalia Pereverzeva was caught using a forged Canadian passport under the fake name ‘Patricia Mills’. Two other SVR officers, Andrei Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, were claiming Canadian nationality under the forged names Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley. A fourth alleged member of the spy ring, ‘Christopher Metsos’, was apprehended in Cyprus, after using a forged Canadian passport to enter the Mediterranean island. He later disappeared, having skipped bail. Now, sixteen months after the arrests of the Russian spies, The Canadian Press has acquired several hundred pages of memoranda and internal emails from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Substantial portions of the documents, which were acquired through Canada’s Access to Information Act, remain censored; but The Press reports that they show that employees of DFAIT’s Passport Canada office held “urgent meetings and high-level briefings” in the days following the FBI arrests, in order to address the revelations concerning SVR’s illegal use of Canadian passports. In the documents, Canadian officials opine that the use by Russian spies of forged Canadian travel documents poses a “troubling threat to the integrity of Canadian [passports] and identity security”. Read more of this post

Analysis: What we know about the Russian spy ring case

SVR seal

SVR seal

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
If you are frustrated with the increasingly idiotic and sex-obsessed media coverage of the Russian spy ring recently busted by the FBI, you are not alone. Less than a week since news of the arrests in the US of ten alleged deep-cover agents of Russia’s SVR intelligence agency emerged, sensationalist media hacks have left no stone unturned. Thankfully, Stratfor Global Intelligence has produced an excellent early summary of this developing story, complete with a useful diagram of the known members of the SVR spy ring. The summary correctly points out some of the critical issues in the espionage case, including the fact that the 11 suspects appeared to be primarily run out of the SVR residence at the Russian mission to the United Nations in New York, and not out of the Russian Embassy in Washington DC. Read more of this post