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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid