US revokes Peruvian ex-defense minister’s visa over alleged spy links

Vicky Peláez and  Mikhail VasenkovBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
The United States has allegedly revoked an entry visa previously issued to the former Deputy Minister of Defense of Peru, over suspicions that he is connected to a major Russian espionage ring found operating in the United States. Fabián Novak had his visa revoked after he was allegedly included on a list drawn by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, containing names of individuals connected to a Russian illegals program caught operating in the US in 2010. According to El Comercio, Peru’s oldest newspaper, Novak, who served as the country’s Deputy Defense Minster between 2006 and 2008, met repeatedly with two members of the 11-member Russian spy ring, which was busted in a series of coordinated raids across several US states in July of 2010. The Lima-based daily quotes an anonymous “high-level [US] government source” who claims that Novak directly contacted two of the 11 Russian spies, who entered the United States from Peru, using Uruguayan and Peruvian travel documentation. The two, Vicky Peláez, who posed as a journalist, and her husband Mikhail Anatolyevich Vasenkov (alias Juan Lazaro), an adjunct professor, were among nearly a dozen Russian illegals swapped less than two weeks after their arrests by the FBI with several CIA spies held in Russian prisons. The El Comercio source claimed that, according to the FBI, Novak met with two officials from the Russian embassy in Lima at least twice, in 2001 and 2006, to discuss the activities of Peláez and Vasenkov in the US. Read more of this post

Advertisements

Swapped spy says he is not Russian, wants to move to Peru

Mikhail Vasenkov

Mikhail Vasenkov

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
One of the 11 Russian spies arrested in the US in June, and later swapped with CIA assets held in Russian prisons, claims he is not Russian, speaks no Russian, and wants to move to Peru, where he lived in the 1970s. Juan Lazaro was arrested by the FBI on June 27, along with 9 other (and later one more) Russian deep-cover operatives, who had lived in the United States under false identities for up to three decades. Lazaro, who lived in Yonkers, New York, had a doctorate in Political Science, worked as an adjunct professor, and was married to Peruvian-born journalist Vicky Pelaez. But FBI investigators unmasked Lazaro’s real name, which is Mikhail Vasenkov, before deporting him and his wife, who is also accused of working for the Russian secret services, to Moscow. According to FBI records, Vasenkov assumed the Juan Lazaro identity and ‘legend’ (biographical narrative and supporting documentation for intelligence purposes) while living in Latin America in the 1970s, using the papers of the real Juan Lazaro, an Uruguayan child who died at age 3. But now Vasenkov’s American lawyer, Genesis Peduto, claims her client is not from Russia, speaks no Russian, but is in fact the real Juan Lazaro, and wishes to leave Russia for Peru. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #394 (Russia-US spy swap edition III)

  • Russian spy’s call to father triggered arrests. A telephone call from Russian spy Anna Chapman to her father in Moscow led US counterintelligence services to hasten the arrests of her and nine Russian agents in the United States, claims The Washington Post.
  • Non-Russian spy Pelaez to return to Peru in month. Vicky Pelaez, a journalist with dual US-Peruvian citizenship, who was deported from the United States to Russia on a spy swap, will return to Peru no sooner than in a month, Pelaez’s lawyer, Carlos Moreno, said on Monday.
  • Alleged CIA spy Sutyagin may return to Russia. Igor Sutyagin, a Russian arms expert convicted of espionage in 2004, may return home after he was deported to England in a spy swap with the US, according to his former colleague Pavel Podvig. “He has Russian citizenship, his wife and daughters are in Russia and he has been pardoned by the President”, said Podvig.

Bookmark and Share

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

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