Tensions Rise Over Russian ‘Spy’ Arrests

Accused Spies Not Actually Charged With Spying

Russian officials today mocked the arrests of 11 Russian citizens as “deep cover spies” as “baseless and unseemly,” and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that US police were “out of control” in making the allegations against them, as tensions appear set to rise between the US and Russia after months of comparative calm.

Anna Chapman, the face of the ill-defined 'spying plot'According to officials, the 10 people arrested on the East Coast and an 11th arrested on Cyprus were sent to the United States with “American sounding” last names and told to blend in and become Americanized in the hopes that they might eventually uncover some US secrets.

Curiously enough, despite the elaborate conspiracy laid out in the criminal complaints against the 11, none of them is actually charged with spying, and most are charged with little more than simple immigration violations, and “failing to register” as agents of a foreign government.

The reason behind this, it seems, is that the multi-decade plot yielded precious for the “spies,” with one of them apparently getting close to a “New york-based financier” and gleening some “valuable information” about trading the gold market.

This “scandal out of nowhere” is taking everyone by surprise, and many are predicting it will negatively impact not only US-Russian relations, but also President Dmitry Medvedev’s chances of reelection

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.