It's enough to make you weep. A huge red (O's favorite color when it's not green) spy ring is busted this week, and there was no trial. They copped a plea. They spend no time in prison. They pleaded guilty, and what did they get? A free ride back to Mother Russia. Yes, they are on their way home, "deported," probably on Air Force One.
Just last week Obama was welcoming and chowing down with, bowing down to Russian President Medvedev, chomping on cheeseburgers and giving away who knows what while getting some chicken pulkies in return. And you just know Medvedev was thinking, "what a schmuck."
Meanwhile, Jonathan Pollard, accused of spying for Israel, has been rotting in a jail cell for 25 years (in a life sentence). More on his case here. America has nothing to fear from Israel; let's get real.
The FBI has arrested 10 alleged Russian spies and broken up a "long term, deep cover" network of agents that spent years adopting American identities and gathering an array of intelligence, from information about nuclear weapons to the gold market and personnel changes at the CIA.
In an indictment that might have been taken from the plot of a cold war thriller, the FBI alleges that the Russian intelligence service, the SVR, sent spies to live in the US under false names with the intent of becoming so Americanised they could build relationships with sources and gather information without raising suspicion. Some of the agents lived as married couples and had children who have grown up as Americans unaware that their parents are Russian.
The FBI alleges that the accused spies were able to get close to a scientist working with "bunker-buster" nuclear bombs and a New York financier with powerful political ties. But the intercepts do not suggest they were successful at uncovering valuable information and some of the exchanges with Moscow appear almost laughable in their simplicity, including advice to one agent to "build up little by little relations" with the financier.
According to the indictments, members of the spy ring reported back to Moscow in 2004 that they were able to get close to an American whom the Russian agents described as involved in "strategic planning related to nuclear weapon development" and "had conversations with him about research programs on small yield high penetration nuclear warheads recently authorised by US Congress (nuclear 'bunker-buster' warheads)".
Another alleged spy, named as Cynthia Murphy, built a relationship with a man described as a prominent New York-based financier active in politics. Moscow responded that he was a very interesting target because he might be able to provide information about foreign policy and discussions among the president's closest aides.[...]
Each of the 10 has been charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. They face up to five years in prison if convicted although it is possible that more serious charges will be added.Secret meetings
'Haven't we met in California?' The coded exchanges
The FBI indictment relates how one of its agents, posing as a Russian consulate official in New York, put one of the alleged spies it was watching, Anna Chapman, through a charade in which she was to deliver a fake passport to a supposed Russian agent.
The FBI agent gives Chapman a magazine and tells her to hold it so she will be recognised by her fellow "Russian agent".
A coded exchange is then agreed on. The "Russian agent" will say: "Excuse me, but haven't we met in California last summer?" Chapman was to reply: "No, I think it was the Hamptons (right)." Chapman then asks the undercover FBI agent: "You're positive no one is watching?" She was assured that no one was.
The FBI agent assured Chapman she was well regarded in Russia. "Your colleagues back in Moscow, they know you are doing a good job and they will tell you this when they see you. So keep it up."The FBI said: "Semenko responded that he would erase the hard drive of the communications equipment." Asked where he would then go if the signal came to come in from the cold, Semenko said there was only one place: the Russian consulate in New York.