Skip to comments.The Russians Are Coming (FBI concerned about Moscow's growing number of spies)
Posted on 01/31/2005 7:32:44 PM PST by churchillbuff
At Los Angeles International Airport two weeks ago, FBI agents arrested an Irish businessman they had spent a week tailing all over California's Silicon Valley, from the offices of two electronics manufacturers in Sunnyvale to a hotel in Mountain View and down a quiet cul-de-sac to a suburban house in San Jose. The technology exporter, according to court papers, had purchased sophisticated computer components in the U.S. to send to Russia through Ireland. He now stands to be charged in mid-February with "unlawful export of 'defense articles.'" U.S. officials point to this little-noticed case as one manifestation of a troubling reality: although the cold war is long over, Russia is fielding an army of spooks in the U.S. that is at least equal in number to the one deployed by the old, much larger Soviet Union.
Russia runs more than 100 known spies under official cover in the U.S., senior U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials say. And those are just the more easily spotted spies working under the classic guise of diplomat. An unknown number of so-called nocswho work under nonofficial cover as businessmen and -women, journalists or academicsundoubtedly expand the Russian spy force. "They're baaaaack," says a former senior U.S. intelligence official who worked against Moscow during the cold war. "They're busy as hell, but I don't think we've really got what it is that they're doing." The number of Russian spies in the U.S. is especially surprising, given that it was less than four years ago that the Bush Administration expelled 50 of them in retaliation for the humiliating discovery that FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen had been spying for Russia for 21 years.
In a high-level meeting late last year, officials tell TIME, the National Security Council instructed the FBI, CIA, State Department and other agencies to get a better handle on the Russian espionage threat. While the U.S. might like to eject suspect diplomats to force the Russians to send in their "rookies," as a U.S. official put it, Moscow would probably respond in kind, denting the CIA's corps in Russia.
As the FBI has remade itself in the wake of 9/11 into a counterterrorism agency, the bureau's long-standing counterintelligence mission has been bumped down a notch on the priority list. During this time, Russia has been among the U.S.'s rivals most aggressively exploiting the opening to build up its spying capabilities. Also, it has been using liberalized immigration rules for Russians, instituted after the cold war, to install nocs.
Officials say the Russians are after secrets about American military technology and hardware, dual-use technology such as the latest lasers, and the Administration's plans and intentions regarding the former Soviet states, China, the Middle East and U.S. energy policy, among other matters. Russia also wants to learn as much as possible about its biggest strategic worry: the U.S.'s ramped-up commitment to missile defense, which could eventually threaten Moscow's nuclear deterrent. Asked about the Russian spy surge, Russian embassy spokesman Yevgeniy Khorishko replied, "We do not comment on any of the issues concerning intelligence."
In addition to embassy-based spies, Russiaalong with China, Pakistan, Iran and any number of other countries, including U.S. alliesrelies on many hard-to-trace front companies, often run through third-party countries, to acquire secrets and dual-use technology. "We think there are thousands of these companies," a senior U.S. official said.
David Szady, the FBI's assistant director for counterintelligence, who is in charge of keeping tabs on foreign spies on U.S. soil, told TIME that in the next five years he wants to double the number of agents chasing spooks. Already, the FBI has placed counterespionage squads of at least seven agents in all 56 of its field division offices over the past year. What about the chance that damaging U.S. moles are helping Russia today? Says one U.S. senior intelligence official: "There's always evidence of another mole because there are always unexplained events. There are always unexplained losses. There are always enough dots that look strange."
With that many spies about it should be easy to pass the word that if the Russkies still want a go at Germany and France it's OK with us.
I have said it here before. We have to watch Putin, any ex-KGB agent can't be trusted.
Do you think they are hiring disgruntled rats??
Why should he be expected to represent US interests?
If I had russia supporting changes of governments in my traditional back yard, etc., I would hope that WE were sending more spies to work on Russia.
Russian spies are nothing compared to the damage the russian "mafia" is doing in our country. They are everywhere, and are stealing everything that isn't nailed down. In particular, they are the driving force behind the explosion of auto theft in this country.
I'm sure that they have their mitts in everything else. They have rights here, unlike they did in russia, and our country club prisons are a joke to them. They are the real threat, not these few spies.
That is why it is so foolish to allow certain people, like Hillary, Leahey, etc., access to our intelligence through committee assignments. If they can't pass a security check they should not be allowed access to classified info, politician or not.
If they're so concerned about the Russians maybe they ought to boot those two Commies in the Dept. of Homeland Security. Yvgeny Primakov was a KGB deneral and the ex-stasi head (I believe his name is Wolf). These people have no place in our government.
"If they're so concerned about the Russians maybe they ought to boot those two Commies in the Dept. of Homeland Security. Yvgeny Primakov was a KGB deneral and the ex-stasi head (I believe his name is Wolf). These people have no place in our government."
Thought you might be interested in the following...
"the FBI has placed counterespionage squads of at least seven agents in all 56 of its field division offices over the past year."
Can this really be true?
Why on Earth would little field offices like Medford, Oregon, need SEVEN espionage agents looking for Russian spies?
Are the Russian spies really that prevelant in small town America?
I did a google search, and has there been firm confirmation that the Department of Homeland Security hired Markus "Mischa" Wolf? To me, that would be a far bigger scandal than simply paying Armstrong Williams to promote a program, and I hope that the report is not true. But Mr. Wolf would be in his 80s, and I have to admit to some skepticism on that ground alone.
Nobody says they work exclusively out of the office, or in the area where they are assigned. Do you have any idea what the population of former Soviet citizens is in the Portland metro area for example?
I am married to one, so I have a pretty good idea - it is closer to 200k than 100k. Let's just say I comprehend the Russian language a whole lot better than I ever let them be aware of! No they're not all spies of course. but there are some...never mind - you honestly do not want to know what I know.
I've said it before and I'll say it again...the world was a whole lot safer when there was a Soviet Union.
Why? They kept the eastern part of the world "in check", and we kept the Western part of the world in check. With their "draconian" system in place, it kept this hemisphere alot safer than what it is today....at least the Russian Mafia wasn't as rampant as it is today. And, we could keep "tabs" on their KGB agents a whole hell of a lot easier. They didn't have NOC's under the guise of "business people" roaming the streets in every major and mid sized city in the U.S.
The last two year's while I've been on vacation in North Carolina, I've noticed alot of Russians, Belarussians, and Ukrainians in the area's surrounding the Research Triangle(and I've seen at least one or two on EVERY trip I've made down to Raleigh in the past 3 years) and in Eastern North Carolina. Coincidently, they seem to be concentrated in the areas around...Fort Bragg, Seymour-Johnson A.F.B, Camp Lejeune, and Cherry Point M.C.A.S. and are working as retail "business people." Hmmm?
I used to be fluent in Russian back in my college and early military days, but am quite rusty at it now, but when I do happen to use it on my business trips to Raleigh, you should see the stunned look on the faces of these folks. I especially like to hear them make some comment about someone, or something, and then to see the look in their eyes when I start to laugh, or make a comment back to them in RUSSIAN! They just about "piss" on themselves...they usually stop communicating to each other in Russian too!
To all: I can guarantee you, that for every "Sanctioned" agent operating under the guise of "diplomat", that there are AT LEAST 2-5 NOC's operating in the vicinity.
Just another valid argument for why we should NEVER lose our vigilance in the "spy" game. That's what happens EVERYTIME you have a "liberal" administration like that we had to endure during the Clinton years.
It didn't help that the Soviet Union went the way of the dinosaur either...we have this "altruistic" ignorance about us here in the U.S. We tend to think, well, there not our enemies anymore so we can "stand down" our intelligence networks. Well, the reality is, when you are the "Big Dog", EVERYONE is trying to knock you down! Period!
How do you think that the Chinese became the emerging economic power it is in such a short period of time? Because the lack of due dilligence on the part of the FBI and CIA under the Clinton administration basically handed them "the keys" to the car in technology based "systems" in the 90's!
This sentence gets to the real heart of the matter.
Lest we forget: we spy on them, too.
In fact, if you were to gather together all the people who act as spies, intelligence gatherers, espionage agents and support personnel for all the governments of the world let alone the corporate operators, I doubt there is a convention town anywhere that could accommodate them all for a weekend.
So sure, we can complain about Russia spying on us, but I, for one, find such complaints to be the epitome of hypocrisy.
Besides, the Chinese are much more aggressive and apparently more successful -- in their espionage activities in the U.S.
Heck, they even owned a president for eight years. Not shabby.
"Do you have any idea what the population of former Soviet citizens is in the Portland metro area for example?"
No. I know there's a few in Medford. There's a Russian restaurant here that serves delicious food.
"you honestly do not want to know what I know."
Concerning the KGB? Or the Russian Mafia? Or both?!
I was reading about the "Thieves-In-Law" and how some Russian Mafia bosses would deliberately mutilate themselves in horrible ways to show how tough they were.
Really scary stuff!
<< Russian spies are nothing compared to the damage the russian "mafia" is doing in our country. They are everywhere, and are stealing everything that isn't nailed down. In particular, they are the driving force behind the explosion of auto theft in this country.
I'm sure that they have their mitts in everything else. They have rights here, unlike they did in russia, and our country club prisons are a joke to them. >>
You are spot on. but, don't underestimate their spies -- or "china's" [40% of whose much-vaunted "booming economy" comes from systemic, criminal, counterfeiting] come to that.
And the incredibly high rate of illnesses Russians bring with them, including AIDS, pretty-well-incurable, drug-resistant, TB and hepatitis -- and the endemic alcoholism from which 60+% of Russian men die -- should be scaring the pants off someone or other among the Peter-Principled-persons who populate and pick up checks from the feral gummint's vast health, communicable-diseases and security bureaucracies.
Nothing like starting a hysteria.
Pure BS. Welcome to the world of Sterotypes. On the UN's list of top alcohol consumers, Russia lists #12, America #19. Luxemburge, Ireland, Britian, Germany list as the top four.
Most Russian men die of the same thing that most American men died 20 years ago: heart attacks caused by lack of exercise, smoking and fatty foods. That is also changing.
As for TB, there is no rampent TB epidemics in Russia and before you can come into the US, you are usually check for all that as part of your Visa application. As for Aids, we have plenty of that on our own.