News / USA

Russian Double Agent Betrayed Spy Ring in US

A combo of undated booking photos provided by the US Marshals Service on 29 Jul 2010 shows individuals charged with acting as unregistered foreign agents for Russia
A combo of undated booking photos provided by the US Marshals Service on 29 Jul 2010 shows individuals charged with acting as unregistered foreign agents for Russia
James Brooke

Russia's spy scandal is flaring up again on the news that an intelligence service colonel betrayed the identities of 10 spies, then defected to the United States.

A high-ranking Russian double agent was behind last summer's exposure and arrest of 10 Russian sleeper spies in the United States. The news was published in Kommersant newspaper Friday and later confirmed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Days before the arrests, a Colonel Shcherbakov, a branch leader of  Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, fled Moscow to join his daughter and son in the United States, according to the news report.

Gennady Gudkov, a deputy on the State Duma's Security Committee,  told Interfax that the colonel's defection was a major blow to the "S" Directorate, which prepare deep cover agents for overseas work. He said internal alarm bells should have rung because the colonel's daughter was a long-term resident in the United State and the Colonel declined a promotion last year, presumably to avoid taking a lie detector test.

This drawing shows five of the 10 arrested Russian spy suspects in a New York courtroom, 28 Jun 2010
This drawing shows five of the 10 arrested Russian spy suspects in a New York courtroom, 28 Jun 2010

The arrest of its members was an embarrassment to Moscow just days after a summit in Washington between Mr. Medvedev and President Barack Obama.

Russian and American authorities immediately minimized the spy scandal, hoping to keep on track wider cooperation between Russia and the United States in Afghanistan, on Iran's nuclear program and on Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle, at the time of the arrests, downplayed their impact:

"US-Russian relations right now are as strong as they have been for quite some time, and nothing that has happened in connection with this spy exchange has done anything to change that," he said.

And, the pattern of minimizing damage continued Friday as Russian state television repeatedly broadcast a video clip showing President Obama and President Medevedev smiling broadly as they strolled into the G-20 Summit in Seoul.

Asked about the spy report, the Russian president told reporters:  "This was not news to me. I knew about it the day it happened."

In Moscow, opposition lawmakers are using the news to call for the replacement of  Mikhail Fradkov, head of Russia's foreign intelligence service. President Medvedev appeared to brush these calls aside, saying merely that the spy investigation will take its course.

Russia's spy story had faded since last summer.

Russian PM Vladimir Putin (File)
Russian PM Vladimir Putin (File)

Back then, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB Colonel in East Germany, sang patriotic songs with the spies. Later, at the Kremlin, President Medvedev awarded them top national honors. Anna Chapman, one of the five female spies, took a more public approach. Scantily clad and caressing a silver pistol, she appeared as "Agent 90 60 90" for Maxim, a Russian men's magazine.

Two weeks later, Russian Prime Minister Putin, reminded Russians of the sorry fate that awaits double agents.

Speaking to reporters, Putin said of the unmasking of the Russian spies that:  "This was the result of treason and traitors always end badly. They finish up as drunks, addicts, on the street," he warned.

This week, a similar threatening tone surfaced in the Kommersant report.

The newspaper, one of Moscow's most respected, quoted a source saying of the double agent: "We know who he is, and where he is. He betrayed either for money, or was caught for something. And there's no doubt that a Mercader has been sent for him."

Ramon Mercader was a Spanish Communist sent by Stalin to kill his political rival, Leon Trotsky. In 1940, Mercader visited Trotsky at his house in Mexico City. He killed him with a single blow of an ice ax.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid