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10 Russian spies arrested by FBI from US

Posted by on Jun 29, 2010 | 1 Comment

US federal agents arrest 10 Russian intelligence officers with conniving to act as illegal and secret agents of the Russian government in the United States, the Justice Department said on Monday. Out of ten, eight, including Zottoli and Mills, are charged with ‘carrying out long-term’, ‘deep cover assignments’ on behalf of the Russian Federation with the goal of penetrating U.S. government policymaking circles.

At least seven year ago, An FBI began its investigation which ended with the arrest of 10 people in Yonkers, Boston and northern Virginia on Sunday. The documents detailed what the authorities called the “Illegals Program,” an ambitious, long-term effort by the S.V.R., the successor to the Soviet K.G.B., to plant Russian spies in the United States to collect information and recruit more agents.

In Manhattan, the New York and New Jersey defendants were expected to appear in federal court on Monday. The defendants, some of whom may go by and assumed alias, include: “Richard Murphy” and “Cynthia Murphy” of Montclair, N.J., Vicky Plaez and “Juan Lazaro” of Yonkers, N.Y. Anna Chapman of New York City, “Michael Zottoli,” “Patricia Mills,” and Mikhail Smenko of Arlington, Va., and “Tracey Lee Ann Foley” and “Donald Howard Heathfield” of Boston, Ma. An 11th defendant, Christopher Metsos, remains at large.

The Virginia defendants were to make court appearances in Alexandria. For the southern district of New York, the cases were filed in U.S. District Court. A message from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow to two of the defendants was intercepted by the U.S. government. In Manhattan, a federal magistrate ordered Richard and Cynthia Murphy, Juan Lazaro, Vicky Pelaez and Anna Chapman held without bail after a hearing that lasted more than an hour.

Most of the defendants were dressed in casual clothes like blue jeans, shorts and T-shirts — answered “Yes,” when asked if they understood the charges. For a detention hearing with the exception of Chapman, all of those five defendants were ordered to return to court July 1. Ellis also assigned court-appointed lawyers for the five, after they said they were indigent and unable to pay for defense counsel.

The FBI alleged Heathfield and Foley communicated with Moscow headquarters through special computer software that embeds secret messages in images. This process is known as steganography. Before moving to Arlington, Va., last October Mills and her co-defendant husband, Michael Zottoli, lived for years in Seattle. In 2006, a search of a Seattle apartment linked to the suspects turned up short-wave radio equipment. The court papers say, “In addition, agents observed and photographed spiral notebooks, some pages of which contain apparently random columns of numbers“.

The FBI said, “Metsos does not live in the U.S., but it didn’t disclose his country of residence, only that he often travelled to the U.S. to meet with agents and pay them on behalf of Moscow” and added, “In 2004, a Russian government official surreptitiously handed Metsos money in New York, the documents alleged. Metsos then buried some cash in upstate New York and, two years later; Mills and Zottoli flew there and dug it up”.

The government said, one of the alleged New Jersey conspirators, Cynthia Murphy, had several work-related meetings with a “prominent New York- based financier” whose name is omitted from the complaint. Superiors in Moscow instructed Murphy to work on the relationship and try to obtain foreign policy rumors and invitations to political events. According to the charges, the alleged spies were instructed to remain in place for years to deliver useful intelligence to agents of the Russian Federation. In 2009, Murphy and co-defendant Richard Murphy received a coded message from the Moscow headquarters of the Russian Federation foreign intelligence service, instructing them on their duties.

According to the government, the Federal Bureau of Investigation decodes the message “You were sent to USA for long-term service trip”, “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 U.S. and send intels (intelligence reports) to C(enter).” According to a computer database, since 2008, Richard Murphy, 39, has resided in Montclair, after living in Hoboken, New Jersey; Jersey City, New Jersey; and Queens, New York.

In the past decade, the two most prominent cases involving the SVR may have been those of Robert Hanssen, the FBI counterintelligence agent who was convicted of passing along secrets to the agency, and Sergei Tretyakov, deputy head of intelligence at Russia’s U.N. mission in 1995-2000. Tretyakov, who defected in 2000, claimed in a 2008 book that his agents helped the Russian government steal nearly $500 million from the U.N.’s oil-for-food program in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein. He said he oversaw an operation that helped Saddam’s regime manipulate the price of Iraqi oil sold under the program and allowed Russia to skim profits.

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1 comment

  1. Michel Gourd says:

    Russian “doomed spies” found in the United States

    Ten low-grades secret agents were arrested over the weekend for participating in a Russian intelligence program. One of the accused of involvement in the espionage ring made no secret of his ties to Russia, “openly taking part in Russian social media in order to keep up with friends from high school and university”. Now that United States caught “doomed spies”, they should go after the really dangerous ones.

    These kind of spies are well describe in the chapter 13 of Sun Tzu on the Art of War written centuries before Christ. Of the five classes of spies Sun Tzu describe (1), United States caught “doomed spies”. They are “doing certain things openly for purposes of deception, and allowing other spies to know of them and report them to the enemy”. Surviving spies, those who bring back news from the enemy’s camp, are the ones to find. So, who told you the name of these spies?

    (1)SUN TZU ON THE ART OF WAR
    … XIII. THE USE OF SPIES
    Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes:
    (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies;
    (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies.

    8. When these five kinds of spy are all at work,
    none can discover the secret system. This is called “divine
    manipulation of the threads.” It is the sovereign’s
    most precious faculty.

    9. Having local spies means employing the services
    of the inhabitants of a district.

    10. Having inward spies, making use of officials
    of the enemy.

    11. Having converted spies, getting hold of the enemy’s
    spies and using them for our own purposes.

    12. Having doomed spies, doing certain things openly
    for purposes of deception, and allowing our spies to know
    of them and report them to the enemy.

    13. Surviving spies, finally, are those who bring
    back news from the enemy’s camp.

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