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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs