Last year, the FBI rolled up what it said was a network of Russian sleeper spies--ten accused deep-cover Russian intelligence agents, some of whom had gone to Ivy League grad schools to make high-level connections, others who had stolen identities from dead people to further disguise their real identities. The dramatic revelations of the ten year-long counter-intelligence case, called "Operation Spy Stories" by the FBI, culminated in a Hollywood-like exchange of Cold War spies on the airport tarmac in Vienna, Austria, after the accused--including the photogenic New York City Russian real estate agent Anna Chapman--pleaded guilty to acting as unlawful agents of Russia last June 2010.
On Monday, the FBI, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, released dozens of surveillance videos, still photos and documents from the case. But if the Bureau's hand was forced, the FBI counterspies nevertheless seemed pretty happy to discuss their success in rolling up the Russian spy network.
"The arrests of 10 Russian spies last year provided a chilling reminder that espionage on U.S. soil did not disappear when the Cold War ended," the FBI said on its website Monday announcing the release. "Our case against the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) operatives—dubbed Operation Ghost Stories—went on for more than a decade."
"Our agents and analysts watched the deep-cover operatives as they established themselves in the U.S. (some by using stolen identities) and went about leading seemingly normal lives—getting married, buying homes, raising children, and assimilating into American society," it said.
"After years of gathering intelligence and making sure we knew who all the players were, we arrested the illegals on June 27, 2010," the FBI reminded readers. "Weeks later, they pled guilty in federal court to conspiring to serve as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the U.S."
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