Russia, U.S.: More Details On Spy Ring Activities

2 MINS READJun 28, 2010 | 23:28 GMT
Two criminal complaints released by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 28 accused ten individuals of acting as undeclared agents on behalf of Russia to collect and communicate information on policymaking within the U.S. government. The criminal complaints outline in detail how eight of the individuals in the United States were given false identities crafted by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service and were deployed to the United States with "deep cover" to areas along the East Coast, including Boston, New York, New Jersey, and Arlington, Va. The individuals communicated with operators in Moscow, using shortwave radios, steganography (the practice of embedding information within photographs) and electronic dead drops. They communicated with Russian diplomatic officials in the United States using brush passes and brief meetings — all very traditional and established espionage tradecraft. Individuals received on one occasion $400,000 in cash, and at least two individuals traveled to a Latin American country to communicate and receive cash from a Russian intelligence agent. In the United States, the individuals attempted to recruit students in Arlington for intelligence collection. The extremely elaborate operation was under heavy surveillance by U.S. counterintelligence agents. The arrest comes days after Russian President Dmitri Medvedev visited U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, making the timing of the arrests conspicuous. While political motivation cannot be completely ruled out, it is more likely that the arrests were carried out for procedural reasons to maintain operational security within the investigation.

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