Earth to Russia: Skip the Spies, Surf the Internet

Agents were after info any student could find
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2010 2:00 AM CDT
Analysts say Russia seems to have an outdated mentality about espionage.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – The most baffling thing about the arrest of 11 alleged Russian deep-cover spies is why Moscow went to all that trouble in the first place. The coded messages, bag drops, and the rest of the Boris-and-Natasha schtick appears to have been part of an effort to gather information about American foreign policy and technology that would have been easy enough to find by reading newspapers, attending conferences, or surfing the Internet, note security analysts.

The agents seem to have sometimes acted more like lobbyists than spies, seeking to gain access to people who knew others in power. The operation shows that an outdated Cold War mentality still exists in the Kremlin, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation tells NPR. "It reflects the mentality in Russia that only what is gained by agents, by spies, is valid, not what the much more sophisticated civilian analysts can offer." (Read more Cold War stories.)

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