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Tag: Spies

FBI Releases Some Gems; Videos, Photos, Documents of Probe into Russian Spy Ring

Russian spy Christopher Metsos, right, swaps information in a “brush pass” with an official from the Russian Mission in New York in 2004. The image from a video is part of a trove of documents, photos, and surveillance released by the FBI as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request

 
 
AllanLengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has released some gems; videos, photos and documents relating to the arrests of 10 Russian spies last year.

Along with the materials, the FBI noted that the spy ring was “a chilling reminder that espionage on U.S. soil did not disappear when the Cold War ended. The highly publicized case also offered a rare glimpse into the sensitive world of counterintelligence and the FBI’s efforts to safeguard the nation from those who would steal our vital secrets.”

“Our case against the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) operatives—dubbed Operation Ghost Stories—went on for more than a decade. Today we are releasing dozens of still images, surveillance video clips, and documents related to the investigation as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.”

Spy Anna Chapman meets with undercover agent

WATCH ALL THE VIDEOS

BROWSE PHOTOS 

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Column: Did Russian Spies Fool FBI?

Jeff Stein
Jeff Stein

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk

WASHINGTON — Two longtime veterans of the intelligence wars between Russia and the West say it’s inconceivable that the spies deported to Moscow Friday didn’t detect FBI surveillance years ago.

And that, they say, could explain why the FBI never produced evidence in court that the “illegals” had obtained any classified information: They stopped spying as soon as they discovered they were being watched — but stayed just busy enough to distract the FBI, potentially, from more important operations.

“If you’re under surveillance, you don’t do anything — you’re burnt,” said Victor Ostrovsky, a prominent former Mossad operative who said the lsraelis taught trainees about surveillance by studying real Russian spies at work. “You might as well pack yourself up slowly and go home.”

An American counterintelligence veteran said: “It does boggle the mind that they never allegedly picked up on any of the watchers nor learned of any of the technical ops run against them. It really is amazing.”

To read more click here.

Column: I Can’t Get Too Excited About Russian Spies

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – In the end, it left me scratching my head.

Russian spies. Huh. So 60s. So Sputnik-era like.

Forgive me, but some how, with al Qaeda and every other hell-bent-to-destroy-America group out there, Russian spies don’t seem all that threatening.

Nonetheless, the FBI arrested 10 last week. And on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the spies pleaded guilty to conspiring to serve as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation.

In exchange, Russia agreed to release four imprisoned people who had contact with Western intelligence agencies. Not a bad trade, I guess.

But I would have held out for a good borscht recipe, too. At this junction, good cold borscht certainly makes far more sense than a warmed over Cold War.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Arrests 10 Suspected Russian Spies

spy graphicBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Who says the Cold War is over?

The FBI said Monday that it had arrested 10 people for allegedly spying for Russia in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

The new service said the goal was to penetrate U.S. government policy making circles.

The Associated Press reported that court papers show federal investigators intercepted a message from from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow to two of the defendants stating their they were to “search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US” and send intelligence reports.

One intercepted message showed the defendants focusing on turnover at the top echelon of the CIA and the 2008 presidential election.

To read more of the AP report click here.

Column: FBI And Top Spies Give Mixed Message: Shades of Bush?

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk

WASHINGTON — Which is it now — imminent terrorist threat, or no threat? Certain or uncertain?

Only last month U.S. intelligence officials were saying the Nigerian underwear bomber slipped through their nets because they didn’t think al Qaeda could or would mount another attack here.

Yesterday, they warned that a terror attack here was “certain.”

Meantime, we hear that the Miranda warning that FBI interrogators gave Umar Farouk Abdulmutullab caused the Nigerian to clam up.

But yesterday, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said he was singing like the proverbial bird.

Moreover, in “case after case,” terrorists have provided actionable intelligence even after they were given their rights and charged with crimes, Mueller said.

If that weren’t enough, officials continue to contradict each other on who’s in charge of interrogating Abdulmutallab and other top-of-the-ticket terrorist suspects.

To read more click here

The Cuban Spies Among Us

cubaIt’s always mind boggling when someone gets aways with spying for decades. It makes you wonder: Were they really that good or did some people simply miss some hints that something might have been amiss?

By Mary Beth Sheridan and Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — He was a courtly State Department intelligence analyst from a prominent family who loved to sail and peruse the London Review of Books. Occasionally, he would voice frustration with U.S. policies, but to his liberal neighbors in Northwest D.C. it was nothing out of the ordinary. “We were all appalled by the Bush years,” one said.

What Walter Kendall Myers kept hidden, according to documents unsealed in court Friday, was a deep and long-standing anger toward his country, an anger that allegedly made him willing to spy for Cuba for three decades.

“I have become so bitter these past few months. Watching the evening news is a radicalizing experience,” he wrote in his diary in 1978, referring to what he described as greedy U.S. oil companies, inadequate health care and “the utter complacency of the oppressed” in America. On a trip to Cuba, federal law enforcement officials said in legal filings, Myers found a new inspiration: the communist revolution.

For Full Story

FBI Surveillance Making LA Area Muslims Apprehensive

The FBI is walking a tightrope these days when it comes to ties to Muslim communities in the U.S. Last summer, it cut off official ties to CAIR, a Islamic advocacy group because of its ties to Hamas. And the Muslim communities’ distrust of the FBI in the post-9/11 era is still real. The FBI needs the relationships and will have to  figure out ways to improve on them.

By Teresa Watanabe and Paloma Esquivel
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — The Islamic Center of Irvine is a beige stucco building that blends into the rows of office buildings surrounding it. But last week, it became the most publicized mosque in California with disclosures that the FBI sent an informant there to spy and collect evidence of jihadist rhetoric and other allegedly extremist acts by a Tustin man who attended prayers there.

The revelations dismayed mosque members like Omar Turbi, 50, and his 27-year-old son who shares his name. After Friday prayer service last week, while hundreds of others scurried back to work, the pair stood with their backs to a wall and mulled over the news.

“It gives you a little bit of apprehension about who you trust,” the elder Turbi said. “Makes you think twice about what you say; what if people misunderstand you?”

Turbi’s fears were echoed by other Muslims throughout Southern California last week. Some say a climate of suspicion toward them, fueled by 9/11 and underscored by the latest disclosures of FBI surveillance, is inhibiting their freedoms of speech and faith.

For Full Story

Former Maryland Restaurant Cook Charged With Spying For Saddam Hussein

Documents unearthed in Iraq are giving investigators insights into who spied for Saddam Hussein. Indictments like this have been popping up around the country.

By CAROLYN THOMPSON
Associated Press Writer

An Iraq-born Canadian citizen who was picked up at the U.S. border last week was charged Monday with conspiring to spy for Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
A criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department alleges that Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish, 47, was paid to provide information to Iraqi government officials and intelligence officers in 2000 and later, including that Iraqi volunteers were being trained by the U.S. military in Virginia.
The complaint was filed in Maryland, where Darwish worked as a restaurant cook before moving back to Canada. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted of the charge of conspiracy to act as an agent for a foreign government.
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Read FBI Affidavit