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AP: Ten Russians Accused Of ‘Snooping’

From a bemused Associated Press:

In this courtroom sketch, Anna Chapman, left, Vicky Pelaez, second from left, the defendant known as "Richard Murphy", center, the defendant known as "Cynthia Murphy", second from right, and the defendant known as "Juan Lazaro" are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York, Monday, June 28, 2010.

NY case alleges Russian snooping by 10 agents

By Tom Hays And Pete Yost, Associated Press Writers

June 29, 2010

NEW YORK – Behind the scenes, they were known as "illegals" — short for illegal Russian agents — and were believed to have fake back stories known as "legends."

U.S. authorities say they sometimes worked in pairs and pretended to be married so they could blend into American society as the couple next door. Aside from fake identities, authorities say, they used Cold War spycraft — invisible ink, coded radio transmissions, encrypted data — to avoid detection.

Yes, calling all of this “Cold War” stuff makes it sound so antiquated and quaint.

On Monday in federal court in Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz called the allegations "the tip of the iceberg" of a conspiracy of Russia’s intelligence service, the SVR, to collect inside U.S. information.

The Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is the Soviet Union’s Russia’s primary external intelligence agency. It is the successor of First Chief Directorate (FCD) of the KGB.

Each of the 10 was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison upon conviction. Two criminal complaints outlining the charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York.

Nine of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison upon conviction.

How many in Code Pink could be accused of “conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general”? The ACLU?

The FBI said it intercepted a message from SVR’s headquarters, Moscow Center, to two of the 10 defendants describing their main mission as "to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US." Intercepted messages showed they were asked to learn about a wide range of topics, including nuclear weapons, U.S. arms control positions, Iran, White House rumors, CIA leadership turnover, the last presidential election, Congress and the political parties, prosecutors said

All of which the AP characterizes as “snooping.”

On Saturday, an undercover FBI agent in New York and another in Washington, both posing as Russian agents, met with two of the defendants, Anna Chapman at a New York restaurant and Mikhail Semenko on a Washington street corner blocks from the White House, prosecutors said. The FBI undercover agents gave each an espionage-related delivery to make. Court papers indicated Semenko made the delivery as instructed but apparently Chapman didn’t.

Another defendant was a reporter and editor for a prominent Spanish-language newspaper videotaped by the FBI contacting a Russian official in 2000 in Latin America, prosecutors said.

The timing of the arrests was notable given the efforts by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev to reset U.S.-Russia relations. The two leaders met last week at the White House after Medvedev visited high-tech firms in California’s Silicon Valley, and both attended the G-8 and G-20 meetings over the weekend in Canada.

Was Mr. Obama reluctant to have these bravos charged under our espionage rules because he didn’t want to upset our wonderfully new ‘reset’ relationship with the Russians?

This case alone should tell him how un-reset they are.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was studying U.S. statements about the arrests. Ministry spokesman Igor Lyakin-Frolov said the information given by U.S. authorities looked "contradictory," but he wouldn’t comment further.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, asked at a press conference in Jerusalem about the spy case, said he hadn’t received "explanations on what this is about."

"I’m waiting for these explanations," he said through an interpreter. "What I can say now is that the timing of this announcement was most elegant."

In other words, the Russians haven’t come up with a cover story yet. Give them a little time. They are probably as surprised as the White House that our counter-espionage people made these arrests. (But probably not as angry.)

Intelligence on Obama’s foreign policy, particularly toward Russia, appears to have been a top priority for the Russian agents, prosecutors said.

In spring 2009, court documents say, conspirators Richard and Cynthia Murphy, who lived in New Jersey, were asked for information about Obama’s impending trip to Russia that summer, the U.S. negotiating position on the START arms reduction treaty, Afghanistan and the approach Washington would take in dealing with Iran’s suspect nuclear program. They also were asked to send background on U.S. officials traveling with Obama or involved in foreign policy, the documents say.

"Try to outline their views and most important Obama’s goals (sic) which he expects to achieve during summit in July and how does his team plan to do it (arguments, provisions, means of persuasion to ‘lure’ (Russia) into cooperation in US interests," Moscow asked, according to the documents

Even the Russians can’t believe how Mr. Obama is giving away the store. They think there has to be a trick.

They don’t realize how their indoctrination programs in this country over the last sixty years have paid off.

Aside from the Murphys, three other defendants also appeared in federal court in Manhattan — Vicky Pelaez and Juan Lazaro, who were arrested at their Yonkers, N.Y., residence, and Chapman, arrested in Manhattan on Sunday…

Pelaez is a Peruvian-born reporter and editor and worked for several years for El Diario/La Prensa, one of the country’s best-known Spanish-language newspapers. She is best known for her opinion columns, which often criticize the U.S. government.

In January 2000, Pelaez was videotaped meeting with a Russian government official at a public park in the South American nation, where she received a bag from the official, according to one complaint…

What a shock to learn that a left-wing journalist was involved.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “AP: Ten Russians Accused Of ‘Snooping’”

  1. swee says:

    Wait! I thought the word “illegals” was politically incorrect. These Russians were undocumented residents, ok? Get that straight. We’re trying to get amnesty for anyone who’s in the U.S. who’s not supposed to be here. That includes Muslim terrorists, Mexican drug dealers and Russian….spies.

  2. proreason says:

    Is Obamy one of the ten?

  3. NoNeoCommies says:

    Why do they need spies?
    Isn’t Obama handing information to them on a silver platter like Clinton did?

    • Right of the People says:

      This is a cover story to hide that. It’s like yelling, “Hey look, it’s a squirrel!” to distract the little people.

  4. Tater Salad says:

    We have Communists within our Congress and White House:


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