I’d like to introduce you to “Richard Murphy,” “Cynthia Murphy,” “Donald Howard Heathfield,” “Tracey Lee Ann Foley,” “Michael Zottoli,” Patricia Mills,” “Juan Lazaro,” and “Vicky Pelaez.” One alleged Canadian citizen is still at large, “Christopher R. Metsos.” They’re all on the hot seat for felony violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, and what looks like money laundering on the side. From the 37-page complaint:
9. Upon completion of their training, Russian illegal agents are generally provided with new — false — identities; and illegal’s false identity is referred to as his “legend.” The cornerstone of an illegal’s “legend” are false documents. These false documents concern, among other things, the identity and citizenship of the illegal. Through the use of these fraudulent documents, illegals assume identities as citizens or legal residents of the countries to which they are deployed, including the United States. Illegals will sometimes pursue degrees in target-country universities, obtain employment, and join relevant professional associations; these activities deepen an illegal’s “legend.” Illegals often operate in pairts — being placed together by Moscow Center while in Russia, so that they can live together and work together in a host country, under the guise of a married couple. Illegals who are placed together and co-habit in the country to which they are assigned will often have children together; this further deepens an illegal’s “legend.”
10. The FBI’s investigation has revealed that a network of illegals (the “Illegals”) is now living and operating in the United States in the service of one primary, long-term goal: to become sufficiently “Americanized”such that they can gather information about the United States for Russia, and can successfully recruit sources who are in, or are able to infiltrate, United States policy-making circles.
…and on it goes.
I’m reminded of A.G. John Ashcroft, as well as Republicans in the late 1990s. If Ashcroft hadn’t been chasing hookers in New Orleans during Bush’s first months, and the Republican House during Clinton less concerned with his extramarital sex life, all of which lands on FBI Director Louis Freeh’s doorstep, something Secret Service Director Lew Merletti, head of the detail over Clinton, acknowledges in Ken Gormley’s “Death of American Virtue,” who knows what may have been uncovered before 9/11. Priorities matter. But I digress…
Espionage, it’s something out of the Cold War era. Nice-looking, ordinary couple living in Cambridge, and as Jeff Stein writes in Spy Talk, “Perfect location, too: ground zero of the area’s academic-industrial-scientific-government complex.”
The desire for other nations to know what we’re doing in areas of foreign policy remains. From the New York Times, the story having broke late yesterday:
… An F.B.I. investigation that began at least seven years ago culminated with the arrest on Sunday of 10 people in Yonkers, Boston and northern Virginia. The documents detailed what the authorities called the “Illegals Program,” an ambitious, long-term effort by the S.V.R., the successor to the Soviet K.G.B., to plant Russian spies in the United States to gather information and recruit more agents.
The alleged agents were directed to gather information on nuclear weapons, American policy toward Iran, C.I.A. leadership, Congressional politics and many other topics, prosecutors say. The Russian spies made contact with a former high-ranking American national security official and a nuclear weapons researcher, among others. But the charges did not include espionage, and it was unclear what secrets the suspected spy ring — which included five couples — actually managed to collect. [...]
One of the alleged Russian spies on Linked-in, Don Healthfield (via Jeff Stein), was doing very well and getting exemplary ratings from people with whom he worked. But take a look at all of the associations on his Linked-in page. They guy was taking his “legend” to the max. And don’t you just love the look on his face?
It’s obvious that America agreed with the spies.
Point to Mother Russia on resuscitating cold war ingenuity, but if you’re keeping score, we got you.