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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid