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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid