Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Twelfth Person Detained in Investigation of Russian Spy Ring

Via WashingtonPost.com -

Federal authorities have detained a 12th person in their investigation of a Russian spy ring, and he is expected to be deported to Russia as early as Tuesday, two U.S. law enforcement officials said.

he man, a Russian citizen in his early-to-mid 20s, entered the United States in October and was living in the western part of the country, officials said. He is being held on immigration violations because there was insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime and has agreed to be sent back to Russia, they said.

"He was just in the early stages, had just set up shop," said one senior federal law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information has not been made public. The official added that the Russian was monitored by the FBI almost immediately after his arrival and that he "obtained absolutely no information."


Senior federal officials indicated last week that the case had effectively shut down the ring, which was run by the headquarters of Russian foreign intelligence, known as "Moscow Center." But law enforcement officials said Tuesday that the 12th man arrested was not part of the same ring and had no direct ties to the other spies, though his name came up in the broader investigation of their activities.


It was unclear when the 12th man, whose name was not released, was detained, though one official said he was in custody by last week. He was apparently not part of the spy swap because unlike the other 10 agents, he was not charged with a crime, and there was no indication Tuesday that his pending deportation would be part of an additional swap or agreement with Russia. The man would have been charged criminally if there had been evidence, officials said.

One official said the 12th man had obtained a job in the United States and was "just doing the things he needed to do to establish cover."


Not surprisingly, the Guardian UK is reporting that Russia is interrogating the 10 deported sleeper agents at a secret facility. Russian intelligence officers are using various tests (including lie detectors) to establish whether there was a traitor in the SVR who had betrayed the agents.

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