The deep cover Russian spy ring

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The news has broken today of a deep cover Russian spy ring in the U.S.A., with busts by the FBI.

The FBI has arrested 10 alleged Russian spies and broken up a “long-term, deep cover” network of agents across America’s east coast sent to infiltrate policy making circles.

The cracking of the alleged spy ring, the largest discovered in the US since the collapse of communism, came days after Barack Obama praised Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, at the White House as a “solid and reliable partner”.

In a charge sheet that might have been taken from a cold war thriller, the FBI alleges that the Russian intelligence service, the SVR, had sent the 10 spies, and possibly many more, to live in the US many years ago under false names, with the intent of becoming so Americanised they could gather information without raising suspicion. Some of the agents lived as married couples.

Ron Radosh, who wrote an important book on the Rosenbergs and knows something about these things, has some interesting analysis tonight at his blog:

Unlike Hall, the Rosenbergs and others, today’s spies have no ideological reasons to pursue their traitorous activity; their motivation is the old one — greed. The Russians undoubtedly were paying them big bucks! But what is of great interest is what goal the Russians had in mind: “To search and develop ties in policymaking circles” in the United States, as Russian intelligence instructed the Murphys. “You were sent to USA for long-term service trip,” Moscow central told them. “Your education, bank accounts, car, house- etc.-all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and sent intels.”

That of course, is precisely what the Soviets did when they developed agents like Alger Hiss, Lauchlin Currie, Judith Coplon, Laurence Duggan, Duncan Lee, Harry Dexter White and many others. During the FDR years, these agents infiltrated various departments of government, with the intention of giving the Soviets advance knowledge of developing policy, as well as influencing policy, especially so in the case of Dexter White.

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