Posted on Wednesday 30 June 2010

Accused Spies Blended In, but Seemed Short on Secrets
New York Times

June 29, 2010

WASHINGTON — The suspected Russian spy ring rolled up by the F.B.I. this week had everything it needed for world-class espionage: excellent training, cutting-edge gadgetry, deep knowledge of American culture and meticulously constructed cover stories. The only things missing in more than a decade of operation were actual secrets to send home to Moscow.

alledged spy: Anna ChapmanThe assignments, described in secret instructions intercepted by the F.B.I., were to collect routine political gossip and policy talk that might have been more efficiently gathered by surfing the Web. And none of the 11 people accused in the case face charges of espionage, because in all those years they were never caught sending classified information back to Moscow, American officials said.

“What in the world do they think they were going to get out of this, in this day and age?” said Richard F. Stolz, a former head of C.I.A. spy operations and onetime Moscow station chief. “The effort is out of proportion to the alleged benefits. I just don’t understand what they expected.”

As cold war veterans puzzled over the rationale for Russia’s extraordinary effort to place agents in American society, both Russian and American officials signaled that the arrests would not affect the warming of relations between the countries…
My how we’ve missed them. This story has been covered like it’s an episode of "The Wonder Years" or "Happy Days."  I guess that the post-911 world is just so muddy and the radical Jihadists are such confusing adversaries that we’ve longed for the likes of Russian Spies and the "Red Menace" – the good old days of the "Cold War"…

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