The seemingly long-forgotten story of the Russian spy ring headed by left-wing media pin-up Anna Chapman is getting a resurgence in the mainstream news, due in part to the FBI’s release of documents and videotape of the Russian “illegals” meeting with undercover agents. While the sexy tale had all the elements of a James Bond thriller, as the media told us time and again, espionage is not fiction, but real life; and allowing the Russkies to conduct “active measures” in our country has real negative consequences. The fact that the ring almost got to Hillary Clinton, in addition to the buried story that the spies were potentially working with a mole in the NSA, should wipe the smile off of Americans’ faces and the saliva off the chins of undersexed males drooling over Chapman’s lingerie shoot.
Sex works in the espionage business because it gets men to lose their reason. And that’s why the tactic has also been used on the American audience: to mask that the Russians conducting active measures against the United States, whether legally or illegally, is so dangerous for our national security. A public furor over a spy ring operating with impunity in the country would be so harmful for the Obama administration’s “reset” with the Russians, and that is why the scandal was so hastily swept under the red rug.
Yet when Russia is carrying out such operations against the United States, which has been so pliant to the demands of the Kremlin under President Obama, it should make us question whether this is all “boys will be boys” fun and games.
The information surfacing is that the illegals were networkers, slowly milking contacts in journalism, big business, and Academia, and indirectly influencing them to act as Moscow desired. There is a strong possibility that they were “sleepers,” meaning that they were actively embedding themselves in American society, and awaiting more serious orders to come at some future date. What exactly the ten illegals in Anna Chapman’s ring were up to will remain unknown, though the heavily redacted FBI documents and video will help put some of the puzzle pieces out there for the trained eye to ruminate over and try to piece together. That the ten spies were quickly and surreptitiously traded for three prisoners, one British spy, one researcher who was not even a spy, and a retired KGB colonel sentenced to only three years in prison and released, shows that for whatever reason, the Obama administration was not all that interested in what the illegals were doing or what they knew. The NSA mole story is one suggestion of what they were up to.
It is unknown how many such sleepers Russia has operational in the United States; whether they be mail order brides, exchange students, or other immigrants. And I am not suggesting a resurrection of Wilson’s “red scare” policies to find out. But what I am suggesting is that Americans need to look at espionage differently. Spying is not all James Bond action and adventure; sometimes it is sleeping with someone in the know and getting some important insider information in the financial industry. Or arranging a campus visit by a Russian professor who lectures students to support policies adverse to the U.S.’ national security.
The American public needs to start thinking outside the box regarding espionage. The Kremlin certainly is.
As posted on Political Crush.