Russian spy case - echoes of the cold war

The 11 people charged with spying for Russia have been living in America for as long as 10 years, blending into the background of suburban life while gathering information from a wide variety of sources.

It really is the stuff of cold war spy novels. So-called "sleeper" agents left to burrow deep into American society, all the while living a double life as Russian agents. Amazingly, they mostly failed to gather any information of value. Experts say they could have found most of the information they were passing on to Moscow on the internet.

The Wall Street Journal:


The FBI alleged that the group communicated with Russian handlers using sophisticated techniques. Some operating in New York used encrypted computers linked via private computer networks to communicate only with specific computers with which they were paired, the FBI said. Others living in New Jersey and Boston used a technique called steganography, in which SVR handlers embedded messages into images on publicly available websites, the FBI said.Others allegedly posted in Seattle and Boston used radiograms, or coded bursts of data sent by radio transmitters, to communicate, according to the FBI.

The FBI affidavit describes one hand-off of matching orange bags containing cash by "brush pass" while passing on the stairs of the entrance of a train station in the Forest Hills section of Queens, N.Y.

Officials said no secrets were compromised or revealed in the alleged plot, and the spy operation seems to have yielded little of value given some of the elaborate methods deployed. None of the 11 charged by U.S. prosecutors was accused of accessing any classified or sensitive U.S. government information.

In other words, no one is saying so but this massive effort to infiltrate America was a huge bust - an intelligence boondoggle. Given the amount of time and money spent in placing the agents and paying for their upkeep, it appears that Putin got close to nothing in return.

And the 11 spies got something they never bargained for - a one way ticket to federal prison.



The 11 people charged with spying for Russia have been living in America for as long as 10 years, blending into the background of suburban life while gathering information from a wide variety of sources.

It really is the stuff of cold war spy novels. So-called "sleeper" agents left to burrow deep into American society, all the while living a double life as Russian agents. Amazingly, they mostly failed to gather any information of value. Experts say they could have found most of the information they were passing on to Moscow on the internet.

The Wall Street Journal:


The FBI alleged that the group communicated with Russian handlers using sophisticated techniques. Some operating in New York used encrypted computers linked via private computer networks to communicate only with specific computers with which they were paired, the FBI said. Others living in New Jersey and Boston used a technique called steganography, in which SVR handlers embedded messages into images on publicly available websites, the FBI said.

Others allegedly posted in Seattle and Boston used radiograms, or coded bursts of data sent by radio transmitters, to communicate, according to the FBI.

The FBI affidavit describes one hand-off of matching orange bags containing cash by "brush pass" while passing on the stairs of the entrance of a train station in the Forest Hills section of Queens, N.Y.

Officials said no secrets were compromised or revealed in the alleged plot, and the spy operation seems to have yielded little of value given some of the elaborate methods deployed. None of the 11 charged by U.S. prosecutors was accused of accessing any classified or sensitive U.S. government information.

In other words, no one is saying so but this massive effort to infiltrate America was a huge bust - an intelligence boondoggle. Given the amount of time and money spent in placing the agents and paying for their upkeep, it appears that Putin got close to nothing in return.

And the 11 spies got something they never bargained for - a one way ticket to federal prison.



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