Alleged Russian Spies Made Dumb Mistakes

Overt 'spy' behavior, ineptitude made FBI's job easy
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2010 2:45 PM CDT
This undated image taken from a Facebook page shows a woman journalists have identified as Anna Chapman, who appeared at a hearing Monday, June 28, 2010 in New York federal court.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – News that 11 alleged Russian spies were arrested for "long-term, deep cover assignments" in the US might make you feel like you woke up in a spy novel. If it helps, court documents reveal that these folks didn't exactly measure up to old KGB standards, New York notes. Ignore the fact that they didn't gather any actual intelligence—they openly discussed their work in cafes, used absurd addresses like "99 Fake Street," and gave questioning neighbors the famous Coneheads excuse: "We're from Canada."

At times, the suspects themselves seemed trapped in a movie definition of espionage. In one example, Anna Chapman and her handler traded instant messages while she stood in a bookstore and he stood outside—had they just talked in person, US agents wouldn't have intercepted their high-tech correspondence. Separately, reports are emerging that the FBI moved to make arrests because they heard one suspect was flying back to Russia, and “you can’t take down one without taking down all of them,” an official tells the New York Times.

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