Russian Agents in US Aimed to Make Kids Spies
One was in DC college when parents were busted: sources
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 26, 2012 12:43 AM CDT
Updated Jul 26, 2012 6:30 AM CDT
Anna Chapman was the most notorious agent of a busted Russian spy ring that pressured their kids to take up the family business, say sources. Chapman is now living the life of a celebrity in Russia.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(Newser) – A Russian spy ring operating for years in the US aimed to turn their children into agents, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Crew members pressured kids to join the cause, and at least one had agreed to do it, the sources said. The ring, of which the notorious Anna Chapman was part, was busted two years ago, and had infiltrated a well-connected consulting firm operating in New York and Washington, according to sources.

Mobilizing kids to do Russia's bidding was a clever strategy since people raised in America would likely raise fewer suspicions and more easily pass security checks when they began operating as spies as adults, experts note. One child successfully recruited was a sophomore at George Washington University in the capital when his parents were nabbed. They had lived under assumed names in the US with their son for more than a decade. The boy agreed to his parents' request to join the family business, and to travel to Russia for espionage training, sources told the Journal. He's currently in Russia. A lawyer who represented his father against espionage charges called the accusations "crap."