[ A sketch depicts defendants Anna Chapman, left, Vicky Pelaez, “Richard Murphy,” “Cynthia Murphy” and “Juan Lazaro” in Manhattan federal court. ]
If this sticks…..
First….. why publicize the whole thing?
This sstuff goes on all the time….
Politically it’s gonna be a embarrassment for Obama who just got finished take Medvedev for hamburgers?
Did the FBI want the spotlight?
Did the US Attorney?
Did the White House sign-off on this?
When did they tell Obama?
A ring of 10 Russian “moles” operated a spy ring in the US for years, using New York as a favored location for passing cash and electronic gear in Cold War scenarios right out of a James Bond movie, federal investigators said today.
The suspects, most of them married couples with children, were told by Moscow to become “Americanized,” infiltrate “policymaking circles” and pass secrets to Moscow.
READ THE COMPLAINT: PART ONE
READ THE COMPLAINT: PART TWO
Among details from court documents filed in Manhattan today:
— A senior Russian spy, who used the name “Christopher Metsos,” served as go-between and moneyman for agents across the country. In one case he buried cash in upstate Wurtsboro that was dug up two years later by a Yonkers couple who joined the ring.
— Metzos turned over an orange bag of cash to a Russian government official in May 2004 when they passed one another on a stairway at the Forest Hills LIRR stop. Other hand-overs and meetings between spies occurred in coffee shops in midtown and Fort Greene, Brooklyn, a Sunnyside, Queens restaurant and a subway entrance at Columbus Circle.
— One of two married spies from Montclair, N.J., who used the name “Cynthia Murphy,” told Moscow in February 2009 that she had “several work-related personal meetings” with a prominent New York financier, who was a big campaign fundraiser. “Of course, he is a very interesting target,” Moscow replied.
— Spies based on Boston gave their handlers in May 2006 information about changes at the head of the CIA that they said came from a well-connected “former legislative counsel for the US Congress,” they told Moscow.
— The Boston spies also boated in 2004 that one of their agents had talks with a US nuclear expert about research on bunker-buster warheads.
Obama not happy about arrests……
The alleged agents were directed to gather information onnuclear weapons, American policy toward Iran, C.I.A.leadership, Congressional politics and many other topics, prosecutors say. The Russian spies made contact with a former high-ranking American national security official and a nuclear weapons researcher, among others. But the charges did not include espionage, and it was unclear what secrets the suspected spy ring — which included five couples — actually managed to collect.
After years of F.B.I. surveillance, investigators decided to make the arrests last weekend, just after an upbeat visit to President Obama by the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, said one administration official. Mr. Obama was not happy about the timing, but investigators feared some of their targets might flee, the official said.
Criminal complaints filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday read like an old-fashioned cold war thriller: Spies swapping identical orange bags as they brushed past one another in a train station stairway. An identity borrowed from a dead Canadian, forged passports, messages sent by shortwave burst transmission or in invisible ink. A money cache buried for years in a field in upstate New York.
But the network of so-called illegals — spies operating under false names outside of diplomatic cover — also used cyber-age technology, according to the charges. They embedded coded texts in ordinary-looking images posted on the Internet, and they communicated by having two agents with laptops containing special software pass casually as messages flashed between them.
Neighbors in Montclair, N.J., of the couple who called themselves Richard and Cynthia Murphy were flabbergasted when a team of F.B.I. agents turned up Sunday night and led the couple away in handcuffs. One person who lives nearby called them “suburbia personified.” Others worried about the Murphys’ elementary-age daughters, who were driven away by a family friend…..
The “Illegals Program”…….
Prosecutors said the “Illegals Program” extended to other countries around the world. Using fraudulent documents, the charges said, the spies would “assume identities as citizens or legal residents of the countries to which they are deployed, including the United States.
Illegals will sometimes pursue degrees at target-country universities, obtain employment, and join relevant professional associations” to deepen false identities.
One message from bosses in Moscow, in awkward English, gave the most revealing account of the agents’ assignment. “You were sent to USA for long-term service trip,” it said. “Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e. to search and develop ties in policymaking circles and send intels [intelligence reports] to C[enter].”
It was not clear what the intelligence reports were about, though one agent was described as meeting an American government employee working in a nuclear program. The defendants were charged with conspiracy, not to commit espionage, but to fail to register as agents of a foreign government, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison; 9 were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years. They are not accused of obtaining classified materials.
Note.….Something tells me Attorney General Holder is gonna lose points on this one, which looks like good media story but a weak case (look at what they charged with….most not even with spying, )…..Prediction…..
Holder has consistently caused pain for the administration in his actions…..The NYC trial…The Terrorist questioning saga…..
Do not be at all surprised if he doesn’t make it past 2012…….
Just a thought……
Update …..A 11th ‘illegal’ was caught in Europe this morning…..
As they roll up the network ….expect more arrests……
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