Tags: Russia | spy | haul | long

Russian Spies Entrenched For Long Haul

Thursday, 01 Jul 2010 04:43 AM

NEW YORK — Russia was happy to wait patiently for long-term rewards while its sleeper cell of US spies garnered a string of high-profile connections, a former CIA agent told AFP.

Among the 11 suspected Russian agents, one was a columnist for over 20 years with the Spanish-language newspaper La Prensa in New York, and another ran a consultancy using connections he made while at Harvard University.

"It is a kind of intelligence operation that you put in place not for today or tomorrow, but for years and years of operational activity," former CIA agent Bruce Riedel said.

"Most intelligence services rely primarily on intelligence officers who have diplomatic immunity -- this is more characteristic of a Russian and Communist system than Western intelligence."

For one of the accused who used the false identity of a dead Canadian infant, Donald Heathfield, Harvard was a base he used to cultivate ties, said The New York Times.

In his masters degree program on public administration in 2000, one of his classmates was Felipe Calderon, the future Mexican president.

Another classmate of Heathfield's, Mark Podlasly, told the newspaper how the future accused-spy kept in close contact with many of his peers after graduation.

"He kept in touch with almost all of our international classmates," he told the Times. "In Singapore, in Jakarta -- he knew what everyone was doing. If you wanted to know where anybody was at, Don would know."

Another suspect, 28-year-old Russian Anna Chapman, ran her own lucrative real estate agency, valued at some two million dollars, and the attractive red-head was able to mingle seamlessly in Manhattan's high society.

The moves were "extremely typical of the KGB, which is not surprising because the KGB is still there and now it runs Russia," Riedel told AFP, alluding to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin being a former KGB agent.

"All this has the hallmark of the KGB, to have penetration agents who basically merge in a country for years then befriend with the people from which they get the information."

Prosecutors noted the agents were sent to the United States and instructed to lie low for years.

"Your education, bank accounts, car, house... all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and send (intelligence)," said prosecutors.

Little is known, however, about secret information -- if any -- the spy network was able to produce over the years. None of the suspects so far have been charged with espionage, apparently never being able to transmit classified information to Moscow.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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NEW YORK — Russia was happy to wait patiently for long-term rewards while its sleeper cell of US spies garnered a string of high-profile connections, a former CIA agent told AFP.
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2010-43-01
Thursday, 01 Jul 2010 04:43 AM
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