Wednesday, June 30, 2010

`Deep-Cover' Russian Spies Worked in U.S.

Federal agents arrested 10 alleged members of a “long-term, deep-cover” Russian spy ring whose ultimate goal was to infiltrate U.S. policy-making circles, according to the Justice Department. The arrests in the New York area, Boston and Arlington, Virginia, broke up a group that began operating in the 1990s, according to two criminal complaints unsealed yesterday in Manhattan federal court. The alleged ring included Russian agents posing as American and Canadian citizens, some of them living in the U.S. for more than 20 years, with the goal of becoming “Americanized” and passing intelligence back to the Russian Federation, according to court papers. “The fact that there are 10 or 11 people here illegally as part of a highly organized effort” and may explain why federal authorities made the arrests now, said William C. Banks, Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University in New York. “It may be to send a statement that we’re on to this.” The conspiracy involved at least three unnamed Russian government officials, including one associated with the Russian Mission to the United Nations, according to the complaints.

The defendants face as long as 20 years in prison on the money laundering conspiracy charges. The charges of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general carries a prison sentence of as long as five years. None of the defendants were charged with espionage, which can result in a life sentence upon conviction. According to Banks, the fact that the alleged agents weren’t charged with espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage may show they didn’t obtain classified information. It may also make the cases easier for the government to prosecute, he said. Prosecutors in spy cases often are forced to drop cases to avoid making classified material public, he said. “The prosecutors are in a fairly enviable position,” said Banks. “There may be some sensitivity as to the types of electronic surveillance used, but a lot of it was old-school cloak-and-dagger stuff.”



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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