News / USA

Spy Scandal Will Not Derail US-Russia Relations, Analysts Say

A total of 10 people are in U.S. custody, apparently members of a Russian espionage ring.

U.S. officials say the 10 suspects were working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service [SVR] and living in the United States under what is known as deep cover.

"That means that they had really integrated themselves into the society and were leading lives like any ordinary citizen: working, going to school, not doing anything to distinguish themselves as being different from their neighbors," said Marshall Goldman of Harvard University.

U.S. officials say the suspects were to, among other things, develop ties in U.S. policy-making circles and send intelligence reports back to Moscow.  They were also to collect information on such subjects as U.S. military affairs, foreign policy issues and congressional matters.

But many experts question whether the alleged Russian agents were successful in their information gathering activities.

One of those experts is Charles Pinck, a partner in The Georgetown Group, a firm specializing in security issues.

"The Russians obviously invested a lot of time and money training these people and sending them over here and supporting them," said Pinck.  "On the other hand, based on the complaint filed against them, it doesn't seem like they accomplished a great deal. After all, they haven't been charged with espionage. They have been charged with not registering as a representative of a foreign government and money laundering, which leads me to believe that two things - either they weren't able to do what they were sent here to do, or B: the FBI wasn't able to catch them in the act of committing espionage, which is a hard thing to do."

Steven Pifer of the Brookings Institution also questions whether the alleged spy ring was effective.

"None of the individuals ever succeeded in getting employment with a U.S. government agency and there was no evidence that any of them succeeded in ever getting access to classified information," said Pifer.  "So apparently that was the decision, or those were the facts that led the Justice Department to opt for the lesser charge of being an undeclared agent for a foreign power."

Several Russian officials have questioned the timing of the arrests, saying it comes days after President Obama and Russian President Medvedev met in Washington and emphasized improved relations between the two countries.

Pifer predicts the alleged spying incident will not damage U.S.-Russian relations.

"I think this is going to be a minor bump," said Pifer.  "The Russian Foreign Ministry said they were unhappy about some aspect of it, why was it announced now. Well there is never a good time to announce this sort of thing. But it seems to me that the U.S.-Russia relationship has progressed a lot in the last 18 months, and I think the relationship has made enough progress where this is not going to be a huge threat to it."

Some analysts say the arrest of the alleged Russian spies is a throwback to the Cold War era.

But Charles Pinck disagrees.

"It's almost when you watch the media it's like okay, espionage started and ended with the Cold War," he added.  "Well the truth is espionage has been going on since the beginning of time.  That's why they call it the world's second oldest profession. So if espionage is the world's second oldest profession, catching spies might be the world's third oldest profession. And this has always gone on."

And says Pinck - it will continue to go on. He says we have to keep finding Russian spies and hopefully, he adds, they won't find ours.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid