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  1.    #1  
    Earlier this week 11 people -- most ostensibly american citizens -- were arrested by the FBI and accused of being secret agents of Russia.

    Though they proclaim their innocence, Russia recently acknowledged that they are all Russians.

    There has been no specific charge of espionage, no implication that they stole plans to building an atomic bomb, the formula to New Coke, or the secret to half Governor Sarah Palin’s popularity. Rather they were indicted for being unregistered foreign agents, and money laundering.

    What should happen to them ?

    Bring them to trial, convict, and then imprison them like normal criminals ??

    Exchange them for americans imprisoned in Russia ??

    Send home with a stern warning that its not nice to spy on suburbanites ??

    Does the US still spy on Russia ?? Are you shocked that Russia still spies on the US.

    Should this incident affect US/ Russian relations ??

    Spy Ring: Why Would Moscow Admit the Suspects Were Russian?

    MOSCOW July 1, 2010

    After U.S. authorities announced on Monday that they had unmasked an intricate network of alleged Russian spies, most of whom were operating under false identities, Moscow conspicuously distanced itself from the suspects. The accused - with vanilla names like "Richard Murphy" and "Cynthia Mills" - "were not Russian diplomats or even Russian citizens," pro-Kremlin lawmaker Nikolai Kovalyov told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday. According to news agency RIA-Novosti, Russian Senator Alexander Torshin said the suspects were U.S. citizens, ergo the case should not affect bilateral relations. But just hours after the officials' comments were published on Tuesday, Moscow took an unusual step: it claimed the accused sleeper agents as Russian citizens.

    In a curt statement released on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that the 11 suspected spies were in fact "Russian citizens who ended up on U.S. territory at different times." The suspects, the ministry said, "did not commit any acts aimed against the interests of the United States
    . We assume that they will be treated normally in their detention facilities, and that U.S. authorities will guarantee them access to Russian consular officials and lawyers." The statement gave no further details about the suspects, but it was enough to blow any cover the suspects had hoped to maintain. The family of one of the accused, Spanish-language journalist Vicky Pelaez, has insisted in media interviews that Pelaez's only connection to Russia is her love of Tchaikovsky. But when asked by TIME whether all the alleged operatives were Russian citizens, a duty officer at the ministry's press office replied, "All of them."

    The admission has little precedent in the history of Russian spy games, say former Soviet intelligence agents and security experts. U.S. authorities allege that several of the suspects were intelligence agents known as "illegals" who were operating without diplomatic cover under assumed identities. "In Soviet times, the government would never recognize an 'illegal' as a Soviet citizen," writer and retired Soviet foreign intelligence officer Mikhail Lyubimov tells TIME. "We live in different times now." ...

    The alleged Russian operatives have not been accused of espionage. Instead they are facing charges of conspiring to act as unregistered agents for a foreign government, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, according to an FBI affidavit. Nine of the suspects face charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. The FBI alleges that Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR, tasked the agents with infiltrating U.S. policymaking circles - though there is little indication they gleaned sensitive information. By claiming the suspects as Russians, Gordievsky says, Moscow is trying to downplay the significance of the purported spy network. "Russia is trying to show that their activities were very modest and didn't damage the interests of the United States," he says...

    The Russian government should be praised for claiming the suspects in this latest spy scandal, says Alexander Golts, a respected independent defense and security analyst. "In one way or another, they were acting on behalf of Russia, and Russia took responsibility for them," he says. "Up until [the admission], it was pretty cynical of Russian officials to reject them." Given the negligible intelligence the alleged network appeared to have gathered, the suspects might have been better off openly declaring their presence to U.S. authorities. "Any talk of real espionage in this case is ridiculous," Golts says. "If they had just registered as lobbyists, they would have been just fine."
    Last edited by BARYE; 07/01/2010 at 04:01 PM.
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  2. Micael's Avatar
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    You've nailed it, Barye. I've been trying to get a bead on what "spying" was done exactly, but haven't had the bandwidth yet to do a thorough exam. All I can find are articles (like yours) talking about the brew-ha-ha surrounding the arrests and some info about who these people seemed to be.

    I can't think of a spy story in the press that didn't include in the opening dialogue as to what or who was being spied upon. What were they after, and how did the sting go down that caught them in the act?

    But since they've arrested these guys, shouldn't they arrest that ***** who moved in to the house next to Sarah Palin's family vacation home? Clearly he's spying. I guess he's not Russian?
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  3. solarus's Avatar
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    It was my understanding that they weren't after the kind of military or intelligence secrets typical of the Cold War era. Instead they were spying for more "policy" related information, ex specifics about CIA policies, policies concerning Afghanistan. etc... The first time I heard this I immediately though oh government paid analysts who deal in the real world, not books and newspapers - nothing too serious there. It seems unclear right now as to the "seriousness" of the information that was passed along to our Russian friends.

    If they're guilty then lock'em up accordingly. If we have any spies to trade for, I don't know, then maybe that would be an option, but we haven't heard anything from the Russians in recent years about captured US spies.

    Personally, given my dislike for what passes as journalism today, I don't think the story would have been as big as it is if one of the "spies" wasn't smoking hot.
    Last edited by solarus; 07/01/2010 at 04:11 PM.
  4. #4  
    I think Anna Chapman should do some hard time with me.

    *yes I am fully aware that my joke was horrible
  5. #5  
    The ridiculous thing is for anyone to think that every country doesn't have these kind of operatives, who are not necessarily seeking top secrets, but rather economic information and "policy-making" circles like think-tanks. Much ado about nothing, seems to me at this point. We've got plenty of these ourselves around the world, and there are Israelis and Chinese and Iranians living among us with the same tasks...and it's hard to define this as espionage. We trumpet freedom, and should practice it, unless we can demonstrate they did something harmful. I see a reality show in their future.
  6.    #6  
    I seem to recall that this sort of thing was usually handled quietly

    the miscreants rounded up, given a stern lecture -- the ambassador is brought to the State Dept./Foreign Ministry -- given a stern lecture (to the effect that this is ungentlemanly) and then the miscreants are sent home

    Why is anyone shocked -- shocked -- that there's gambling going on at the casinos ??
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  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    I seem to recall that this sort of thing was usually handled quietly

    the miscreants rounded up, given a stern lecture -- the ambassador is brought to the State Dept./Foreign Ministry -- given a stern lecture (to the effect that this is ungentlemanly) and then the miscreants are sent home

    Why is anyone shocked -- shocked -- that there's gambling going on at the casinos ??
    as I anticipated, it looks as though a quiet gentlemanly resolution will be found to this event: likely guilty pleas, time served, then deportation to Russia ...

    Talks on a Rapid End to Russian Spy Ring Case
    July 6, 2010
    Less than two weeks after arresting 10 people suspected of being secret Russian agents, the federal government is in talks with lawyers for the defendants about a broad and rapid resolution to the case, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions.

    The proposed resolution could allow all the defendants to plead guilty to fewer charges or charges carrying lesser penalties or even time served, and it could result in deportations or agreements that allow them to return to Russia.

    The proposed resolution could lead to a series of relatively quick guilty pleas, allowing the defendants to receive some kind of legal benefit and the government to avoid a series of protracted trials.

    All 10 defendants who are in custody have been charged with conspiring to act as unregistered agents of a foreign government, and eight were also charged with conspiring to commit money laundering. The eight could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Another defendant is at large.

    Prosecutors have not accused the defendants of passing classified information to their Russian handlers. But a resolution would allow the United States government to avoid a long legal battle in which sensitive information about intelligence techniques could be exposed.

    Such a deal would also eliminate the possibility that a high-profile case would serve as an irritant to relations between the United States and Russia...
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  8. #8  
    Preferably Justice, whatever that may be.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by RPFTW View Post
    A fair and just trial?

    What, you do not think they would receive a fair and just trial for the crimes allegedly commited? Why not?
    Life is short, Play hard, and enjoy every moment as if it was your last.
  10.    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    as I anticipated, it looks as though a quiet gentlemanly resolution will be found to this event: likely guilty pleas, time served, then deportation to Russia ...
    that there was a deal, with the "spies" deported was to be expected -- what I'm quite surprised at is the VERY favorable terms we got -- I want whomever negotiated this deal, to represent me when I sell my house.

    "...President Dmitri A. Medvedev had signed pardons for the four men Russia considered spies after each of them signed statements admitting guilt.

    The Kremlin identified them as Igor V. Sutyagin, an arms control researcher held for 11 years; Sergei Skripal, a colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service sentenced in 2006 to 13 years for spying for Britain; Aleksandr Zaporozhsky, a former agent with Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service who has served seven years of an 18-year sentence; and Gennadi Vasilenko, a former K.G.B. major who was arrested in 1998 for contacts with a C.I.A. officer..."

    We traded 10 nobodies (and a minor league player to be named later) for 4 Major league starting pitchers. Extraordinary deal.
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