Jim Kouri
Russian spies captured in US dragnet
By Jim Kouri
June 30, 2010

Federal agents mounted a multi-state dragnet to smash an alleged Russian spy ring accused of infiltrating US policymaking and reporting back to Moscow. Ten suspected spies were arrested including several in the New York metropolitan area.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation counterespionage task force reportedly monitored the Russian spy cell for more than 10 years and officials stated that an 11th suspect remains a fugitive on Tuesday, one day after the FBI and Department of Justice announced the detentions.

Ten suspects are charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government, punishable by up to five years in federal prison. In addition, nine suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years prison.

One suspected spy operation entailed a meeting of a Russian spy with an unidentified nuclear scientist seeking information on US research into nuclear "bunker buster" bombs — explosives proposed under president George W. Bush, but never built.

The arrests occurred on Sunday in four northeastern US states including New Jersey. They came only three days after President Barack Obama had a cordial meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

For years, security and law enforcement officials have warned government officials and business leaders that the US is vulnerable to espionage operations by nations deemed enemies and friends. The most prolific spies are Russian and Chinese nationals.

Chinese and Russian covert agents appear to focus on high-tech production, such as security and surveillance systems, conventional weapons systems, and especially dual use equipment — materials that can be used by the private sector or by the military.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also alarmed about the impact of foreign spies within the United States, especially Russian and Chinese operatives. As with businesses in the United Kingdom, American companies seem to pay little attention to corporate espionage, putting most of their security budget into protection against terrorist attacks.

The FBI are suspicious of Russia, Iran, and North Korea but had focused mostly on the Chinese. The feds estimate that the are over 2,600 Chinese front companies in the US.

US and UK security experts believe that when nations such as China and Russia saw the speed and effectiveness with which the US conducted the Iraq invasion, they decided widespread espionage operations were necessary to keep up with the world's sole superpower.

© Jim Kouri


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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)


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