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U.S. Announces Arrests of Alleged Russian Spies

2 MINS READJun 28, 2010 | 20:46 GMT
The U.S. Justice Department announced June 28 that FBI agents had arrested eight individuals in various cities along the East Coast of the United States on June 27 who have been charged with conspiring to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation, in other words, for spying. Several others were charged with money laundering. Two additional defendants were arrested June 27 for participating in the same ring. The Justice Department press release said the individuals were carrying out long-term, deep-cover assignments within the United States. It is highly unusual (and perhaps even unprecedented) for so many individuals to be arrested simultaneously on U.S. soil during peacetime in a counterespionage case. The press release said the FBI had investigated these individuals for many years and that the case goes back to the 1990s, indicating that authorities had ample time to watch and study these individuals. It also raises the question of why Washington chose to arrest them now. The arrests come just days after U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev met in Washington and touted a new phase in relations by increasing political and economic cooperation. The timing of the arrests could undermine efforts between the two countries to improve ties.

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