"More than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War — Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst," says US Attorney Bharara.
Yep. Sure do. Told ya!
No, this is headline is not stripped from my latest release -- A No Good Itch, which quite coincidentally happens to be about a Russian spy ring operating in New York which gets busted by our favorite FBI Agent J.J. McCall.
What's so interesting about this case is the fact that a Russian intelligence operative, Yevgeny Buryakov held a position in a Russian commercial entity—a Russian bank—rather than operating from a diplomatic establishment. In my FBI days, we would refer to this type of operative as a NOC – a non-official cover officer, no diplomatic immunity. He passed intelligence to low level Russian diplomats--using a technique called a "brush pass."
As reported in the news report, several of the meetings "involved Buryakov passing a bag, magazine or slip of paper to Sporyshev."
That's a brush pass. Pretty standard in terms of Russian intelligence tradecraft. In a high-technology age, you would think they would switch to more secure means of communication but I think this goes to show the Russians don't really trust high-tech methods. They are still using old school, tried and true methods.
It will be very interesting to see how this plays out through diplomatic channels and how the Russians respond. This would be a groundbreaking case for the FBI in terms of arresting a NOC—if indeed Buryakov is eventually identified as an intelligence officer rather than an agent working on behalf of Russian intelligence from the bank.
And if he's a Russian intelligence operative, the Russians are going to want him back; they won't want him to be prosecuted--which means a possible spy trade. And if I'm President Obama and the Russians want a spy trade, I'm asking for one person -- and his name rhymes with MEdward Blowden (I promised myself not to state his name ever again on this blog but you know who I'm talking about.)
In the coming months, I can almost GUARANTEE you will see the Russians arrest an American and accuse them of spying--so they won't have to barter Blowden in the trade. Hopefully the CIA which doesn't operate in Moscow, will stand down any operations they are not conducting to force Moscow's hand on Blowden.
If you want to get a flavor for how the FBI works against Russian intelligence targets in the United States? You'll love my FICTIONAL SERIES (must emphasize that) featuring J.J. McCall. Check it out.
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