Comment: Russian Espionage Steals 2010 Limelight

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By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
As the first decade of the 21st century is coming to an end, few would dispute that Israeli and American spy agencies have been among the most talked-about intelligence organizations of 2010. The reasons for this are equally undeniable: the United States tops the list because of its political prominence, which inevitably attracts media attention; Israel tops it because of the sheer ferocity of its espionage output throughout the Middle East. And yet there is nothing new about this, since neither the Central Intelligence Agency nor the Mossad are exactly novices when it comes to high-profile media exposures. The same cannot be said with respect to Russian intelligence agencies, which went through a period of prolonged hibernation following the end of the Cold War. Indeed, the year that is about to end demonstrates that the stagnant interlude in Russian espionage may well be in its closing stages.

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News you may have missed #408

  • Russian military spy supervised Czech prisons. Robert Rakhardzho, a Russian spy whose relationship with a Czech female Army major prompted the resignation of three senior Czech military officials, worked as a psychologist at the Czech Prison Service headquarters until last September. Rakhardzho is now hiding in Russia.
  • US undercover feds able to easily obtain fraudulent passports. Gregory Kutz, an investigator for the US Government Accountability Office, testified last week to a Senate panel about how his team of undercover Federal agents was able to get the State Department to issue five of the seven e-Passports it requested using fraudulent information. The government apparently failed to detect such basic red flags as a fake driver’s license.
  • Russia widens powers of KGB successor agency. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law widening (again) the powers of the Federal Security Service, the KGB’s main successor agency. The new law allows the FSB to issue warnings to people suspected of preparing to commit “crimes against Russia’s security”. Perpetrators face fines or up to 15 days detention.

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