Tuesday, July 13, 2010

FBI Detains a 12th Russian Agent

"It's unclear what drew investigators' interest in the 12th man, but FBI agents began monitoring him shortly after he entered the U.S. in October 2009, the official said."---The Wall Street Journal (7-13-10)

"In a C-SPAN interview [C-SPAN, 1-28-08] two years ago, [former Russian Intelligence officer Sergei Tretyakov] said that when the Cold War was over, the United States asked Russia to stop the KGB's covert propaganda activities that portrayed Washington in foreign media as carrying out terrible activities, such as saying the United States was spreading HIV in Africa [here]."---Walter Pinkus in The Washington Post (7-13-10)

News media are reporting that FBI counterintelligence officials have detained a 23-year-old Russian man on immigration charges and plan to deport him. According to Jerry Markon (Washington Post 7-13-10), the young Russian was living in the Western part of the country. An unnamed official said he "obtained absolutely no information" and was "just doing the things he needed to do to establish cover." According to law enforcement officials cited by the Washington Post, man was "not part of the same ring and had no direct ties to the other spies, though his name came up in the broader investigation of their activities."

The Wall Street Journal (7-13-10) broke the story:

Authorities are detaining a 12th, previously undisclosed person implicated in the federal probe that busted a Cold War-style Russian spy ring, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter.

Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence investigators have been investigating the 23-year-old Russian man since last fall when his name surfaced in a decade-long espionage investigation, the official said...

It's unclear what drew investigators' interest in the 12th man, but FBI agents began monitoring him shortly after he entered the U.S. in October 2009, the official said.

The man, whose name couldn't be learned, obtained a U.S. visa in August 2009, the official said.

However, investigators weren't able to gather enough evidence against him to bring charges and came to believe his case was different from that of the others who ended up being charged the spy ring, the U.S. official said. It's not clear whether he had the training of the others arrested.

Instead of being charged, the man was in federal custody Monday in the process of being deported, the U.S. official said. His location wasn't disclosed.

U.S. officials on June 26 canceled the man's visa. A day later, FBI agents rounded up 10 of the 11 members of the spy ring who were in the U.S. The 11th person jumped bail in Cyprus after he was arrested there.

Details of the newly disclosed man's movements in the U.S. couldn't be learned. [See full text.]

What is the extent of the Russian illegals' program? According to Walter Pincus in The Washington Post (7-13-10):

[The late Sergei Tretyakov, a Russian intelligence officer who worked as a press officer for the U.N. Mission, claimed that] he had more than 60 SVR officers working inside the United Nations and more than 160 contacts made up of illegals, outright spies, and other people who knowingly or unknowingly could supply information useful to Russia...

What will the Russians do now? In a C-SPAN interview [C-SPAN 1-28-08] two years ago, Tretyakov said that when the Cold War was over, the United States asked Russia to stop the KGB's covert propaganda activities that portrayed Washington in foreign media as carrying out terrible activities, such as saying the United States was spreading HIV in Africa.


In response, Tretyakov said, the KGB closed down "Department A," which ran those activities, but then established the MS program, which did the same thing. "Nothing changed," he said. [MS stands for "measures of support," formerly "active measures."]

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