Sunday, January 10, 2010

Old East-West Spy Game is Alive and Active

Via -

The Cold War may be 20 years dead and buried but it seems that the old East-West spying game is not only alive and kicking, but gaining vigour.

This week, Poland announced it had detained a Russian on suspicion of working for Moscow's foreign intelligence service. In fitting with the best cloak-and-dagger books, the suspect apparently possessed secret equipment for transmitting information to his handlers back home.

It follows in the wake of a series of incidents that indicate espionage between an assertive yet nervous Russia and a West slowly shuffling eastwards has created a boom time for spooks.

Last year, the Czech Republic expelled two Russian diplomats for spying; Moscow retaliated by giving two Czech diplomats their marching orders.

Poland expelled a number of Russian diplomats, and is still looking for an intelligence officer who vanished, along with some valuable Polish and Nato signal ciphers, in the early autumn.

And just over a year ago, a senior Estonian defence official was convicted of spying for Russia in one of the most damaging breaches of Nato intelligence since the end of the Cold War.

The fact that all of these cases occurred in Central and Eastern Europe is no coincidence. While spying goes on across the continent, intelligence experts believe Moscow has singled out its border states for some especially rigorous attention.

The Czech secret service has claimed half the 60 Russian diplomats in the country work for Moscow's intelligence services, while Warsaw has stepped up measures to combat spying by its former imperial master.

The reason for the intensive espionage has much to do with the West coming hard up against Russia's borders. Nato and the EU now sit on the other side of Russia's fence: an unpalatable reality for those in the Kremlin who view with distaste the West's happy advance into an area of the world that it once ruled with complete domination.

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