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FBI Busts Cold War-Style Russian Spy Ring in New York City

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posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:08 PM

The criminal complaint revealed the defendants received requests from Moscow Center—the headquarters of SVR—to gather intelligence on a variety of subjects including economic issues, alternative energy sources and potential US sanctions against the Russian Federation.

“The attempt by foreign nations to illegally gather economic and other intelligence information in the United States through covert agents is a direct threat to the national security of the United States, and it exemplifies why counterespionage is a top priority of the National Security Division,” said Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin.

FBI Busts Cold War-Style Russian Spy Ring in New York City

Given the nature of these continued spy rings I think it's fair to say that Moscow is up to something. The allegations is that the spies were seeking intel on alternative energy research and data of US sanctions against Russia.

Strange that it happens after the Davos World Economic Forum wrapped up.


Given this day and age of high-tech computer hacks and wire taps, I'd expect more and more spy rings to be switching back to the older ways of doing business. Micro-dots in dropped magazines, dead drop spots, and the classic bump-and-hand off. Talking with normal sounding conversations while dropping coded texts is sloppy but still effective in todays world.
edit on 27-1-2015 by Guyfriday because: Added a thought about the story's contextual nature in the modern world.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:18 PM
Maybe they're holdouts from the 1950's? You know like back in the 60's or 70's you would hear of some Japanese soldier who's been hiding out way back in the jungle, still fighting world war two. Boris and Natasha pop out from middle class capitalist mediocrity and report back to the Kremlin?
edit on 27-1-2015 by HUMBLEONE because: Huh, I dunno?

+4 more 
posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:19 PM
Russians = Bad arrested and jailed
Mossad = 5 dancing Israeli's on 9-11 GOOD, sent home

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:23 PM
a reply to: Guyfriday

I guess one could say " what's good for the goose is good for the gander".

I don't, for one minute, think that it's not entirely possible that the U.S.A. is actively engaged in spying either....oh wait:Global surveillance disclosures (2013–present)
...and I am sure they have 'eyes and ears on the ground' as well.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:24 PM
a reply to: HUMBLEONE

Cold War is right. I wonder if they waited for the storm before busting this guy?

Funny thing though (well sad more then funny) in Russia today a Banker lost his job and shot a few employees.
Just weird that these happened on the same day.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:25 PM
a reply to: Guyfriday

There's more than meets the eye on this one. I read some of the transcripts between the alleged spies and the dialog is ridiculous. These can't be professionals.

Everything they were conversing about is available in the public domain with just a little effort.

There may be more material that we are not being provided, but based on what has been released, the FBI case appears to be incredibly flimsy and contrived. They have Russian names, that's about it.

There's better stuff going on in ATS forums.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:26 PM
a reply to: Guyfriday

They likely will be back in Russia within the month getting medals from putin.

Spys always get traded.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:29 PM

originally posted by: HUMBLEONE
Maybe they're holdouts from the 1950's? You know like back in the 60's or 70's you would hear of some Japanese soldier who's been hiding out way back in the jungle, still fighting world war two. Boris and Natasha pop out from middle class capitalist mediocrity and report back to the Kremlin?

I thought the exact same thing.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:31 PM
a reply to: InverseLookingGlass
There's always something interesting here.

a reply to: crazyewok
More then likely. What I found interesting is that they were getting intel of alternative energy research. Maybe Russia's afraid that it can't use its gas pipelines to control Europe anymore.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 04:56 PM
i bet they also created it

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 05:25 PM

edit on 27-1-2015 by neo96 because: nevermind

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 05:45 PM
Now it's Russia that the people are going to fear in their backyards. Fits right in.

The hits just keep coming.

People have to wake up and smell the crap factory because it smells the same as agenda.


posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 05:47 PM
Well, they are there trafficking humans, drugs, and other stolen goods into the country so whos really surprised about this?

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 06:16 PM
I have some knowledge of espionage practices in general, which have come about due to my studying of military history. I wouldn't say I am incredibly knowledgeable, but I know enough to conclude that the earlier, non-technical practices have never gone away. Robert Hanssen was caught in 2001 after making a dead-drop of state secrets in a garbage bag, a practice which had been going on for probably decades. This is because the main problems of espionage agents have essentially remained the same since the beginning of time. The main problem of course is not only acquiring the information, but getting that classified information to another party without being detected.

I can see how someone would think that in the modern age this would occur via digital means, but they are overlooking one simple fact: the majority of computers with sensitive information on them do not allow for the saving of data to any external device. There is basically no way to copy the digital information. So the copying of sensitive documents, or the photographing of documents, are still in use. Photographing the documents has gotten slightly easier, but it still requires physical access to the documents in the first place. Of course hacking certain information is possible, but doing this from the outside is virtually impossible where the most sensitive data is concerned, and the set of problems faced by the espionage agent are quite different. For instance, a hacker cannot be physically caught in the act like they could if they were physically stealing documents.

Anyway, there is one thing that blows my mind, and has done so for quite some time. A nation like Russia, with a rich espionage history, especially during the Cold War, is actually tasking agents with gathering information from inside the country, but these agents have virtually no "in." It is not as if they are stationed in diplomatic positions, like many espionage agents. They could still recruit assets I suppose, but the part that blows my mind is that some of this information is OSINT, or open-source intelligence. I mean the financial state of the country is a matter of public record. Any intelligence agency worth their salt has a department that specializes in open-source intelligence, mainly intelligence that can be gathered from non-classified sources, thus why would you put a ground asset at risk by tasking them, in part, with gathering open-source information? It is a risk vs. reward situation, where the risk outweighs the reward. So at the very least do not task your agents with gathering open-source information and classified information, because suspicion could be brought upon just from gathering OSINT. It just seems idiotic to me.

Anyway, this is nothing new. There are plenty of Russian agents within the United States. This is not the first time they've been caught either. I know nothing of the background of the agents in this particular instance, but I can bet that they have received the training necessary for collecting and passing secret information, among a wide variety of other tradecraft skills. Another reason that the conventional, non-technical tradecraft methods have remained in place is because these are tried-and-true methods of operation. Russia has plenty of experience, and they know what works and what does not work. The books are still being written on espionage in the modern, digital age. Plenty of room for mistakes. The simple fact is that counter-espionage in cyberspace is much harder than counter-espionage in the traditional sense. It is relatively easy to cover your tracks and know the various ways in which you can be caught when physically doing something, as opposed to electronically doing something, when someone could be watching you without your ever knowing it. In the physical world it is much easier to ensure you are alone, as a simple example. Plus, it takes many more resources to perform espionage electronically. You have to not only have technical experts, which the spy is usually not, but you have to place faith in your technical experts being better than the technical experts of the counter-espionage teams that are trying to catch you in the act. Plus, in my opinion it is easier to ensure you leave no physical trace, as opposed to trying to erase a digital record of what you've done. And then you've got to ensure that no one can tell the data was compromised.

Suffice it to say that conventional espionage means are easier, and can be just as fruitful, and even more so in some cases. If this were not the case, does anyone think Russia would be utilizing covert field agents? And America has covert field agents of the same type in Russia, and even in allied nations. Just like allied nations have espionage agents in the US. That is just how it works. Everyone was outraged over the revelation that the US tapped German phones, but this is something that all nations would have done if given the opportunity. That doesn't make it right, but that is just the way things are. Plus, you never know what they're up to in Germany, lol. Just kidding of course. Germany is a great country. Don't care for the food, but that's just me.

posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 06:47 PM
All part of the U.S. agenda and it doesn't matter if these guys are spies or not, the U.S. needs & wants Russian hostilities.

posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 01:53 AM

originally posted by: Zcustosmorum
All part of the U.S. agenda and it doesn't matter if these guys are spies or not, the U.S. needs & wants Russian hostilities.
Looks like cheap psy ops to me.

posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 02:22 AM
a reply to: YouNeedMe

I find it hilarious that no matter what the topic, there is always someone that finds a way to blame Israel. Global warming? Jews. ISIS? Zionist puppets. Ukraine crisis? All Israel's fault.

I mean how could Russia possibly be guilty of any wrong doing? They've had such a squeaky clean record over the last century...
edit on 28-1-2015 by DeadSeraph because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 03:20 AM
oh oh oh Search in Google is spying , and by the way the arrest confirms this Google spying on people not vice versa , last time "Russian", "spies" just to communicate in social networks, one of them jewishgirl Anna Chapman now is garbage and nonsense in the Russian REN TV
edit on 28/1/15 by mangust69 because: (no reason given)

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