June 29th, 2010
12:51 PM ET

Latest developments: Russian spying arrests

Here are the latest developments on the arrests of 10 people in the United States and one in Cyprus on allegations that they spied for Russia:

NEW

[Updated 12:51 p.m. ET] - The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed on its official website that the people arrested in the USA as part of an alleged spy ring are Russian citizens. The statement said that those arrested did not commit any actions directed towards American interests and asked for a guarantee that they would be guaranteed access to Russian consular officials and lawyers.

- Five more defendants in the Russian spying case have been scheduled to have court hearings Thursday, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley are scheduled to have a detention hearing in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, while a detention hearing for Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills and Mikhail Semenko will be in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy, Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez were already scheduled to have a detention hearing on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, New York. Anna Chapman had a detention hearing Monday and has no additional hearings scheduled, the Justice Department said, updating earlier information that she would be back in court July 27.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED

- Former Soviet spy Oleg Kalugin is "amazed" and "amused" that Moscow is engaging so heavily in espionage against Washington, he told CNN Tuesday. The head of KGB operations in the United States in the 1970s, who later left Russia to live in America, said getting the type of information the FBI says the operatives collected "does not require such a massive assault" against the United States. "I am amazed," he said. "It reminds me of the worst years of the Cold War. Why do they need to use so many people to get information that is openly available?"

- Robert Christopher Metsos was arrested in Cyprus on Tuesday in connection with the investigation, Cyprus police said. U.S. court documents say he received money from a Russian agent and buried it in a park, where other suspects later dug it up. Cyprus is alerting Washington to the detention of Metsos so the United States can begin extradition proceedings, police said.

- The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland are investigating reports that suspects used forged British and Irish passports.

- The Russian Foreign Ministry says the arrests are "regrettable" against the background of renewed U.S.-Russia relations, and the Russian foreign minister says Moscow is awaiting an explanation of the arrests.

- Ten people were arrested in the United States on charges of being Russian spies on long-term missions in the United States, the Justice Department announced Monday, with a spokesman calling them "trained Russian intelligence operatives."

- Five suspects appeared in court Monday.

- Four of the suspects who appeared in court were held as flight risks, with their next court appearance slated for July 1.

- The fifth suspect who appeared in court was denied bail, and her next hearing was scheduled for July 27.

- Search warrants are being executed "across the country," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz said Monday.

- The suspects are accused of planning to recruit other people as spies, posing as married couples, and adopting false identities, including those of dead people.

- They engaged in secret communications including exchanges of bags, money drops and use of invisible ink, as well as more modern touches such as private wireless computer networks between specific laptops, court documents said.

- Court papers name them as Vicky Pelaez, her husband Juan Lazaro, Anna Chapman, Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy, Donald Howard Heathfield, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills and Mikhail Semenko.

- The intelligence operation dates back to the 1990s, court papers say.

- The FBI secretly recorded, videotaped and photographed the suspects for years before the arrests, according to court papers.

- Word of the arrests came less than a week after President Barack Obama had burgers and fries with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the Russian leader's visit to Washington.

Post by:
Filed under: Espionage • Russia
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. ybs

    They missed me, the 12th suspect! 🙂

    June 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ybs

      This is a long-term seeding strategy - reel them in with seemingly harmless tasks. Then up the ante with more valuable info & bonus! The CIA should have kept it quiet and round them up later.

      June 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad Durne

      Turn around....

      June 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • brad

      i wonder how many mexican spies are here alot from my sources i heard they are using witchcraft and similar tactics on americans it sounds hard to believe but true but with jesus even the enemy will lick the dust of your feet people of the mighty god

      June 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      @brad LOL!

      June 29, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • PopeJohnII

      Just don't screw with the Vodka imports, p-l-e-a-s-e!

      June 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steven Brian

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com Well, sure! George Bush is no longer in the White House to be sabotaged so the intelligence wienies can revise and extend their remarks. Why is this news?

    June 29, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom in Minnesota

    Socialists really don't need to spy. They have allies throughout the government.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • brad

      and they all lack knowledge trying to encamp gods chosen ones

      June 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom in Wisconsin

      durr. socialists durr russia durrrrr.

      June 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom In Texas

      The alleged spies here are "Communists", not "Socialists"–oh, wait: your're from MN. Wouldn't by any chance be the 6th District, would it? No way would Bachman country allow facts to interfer with myopic paranoia.

      June 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Thats true, Just think how much Obama has told Russia..

      July 3, 2010 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. JulianDeMarco

    Hey, Russia – you want an explanation? Here it is -
    English: Read the U.S. court papers. Idots!
    Russian: Прочитайте судебные документы США. Idots!
    Yahoos!

    June 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. USA401

    Who cares about the Russians. Im more worried about the 11 Afghans that some how disappeared from US bases.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bubinski

    No doubt this isl part of Putin's delusion of somehow restoring his dismal and decaying Russia to the glories of the Soviet Union days. As long as Putin continues to pull the strings behind the scenes in Russia, this type of stuff will continue. What Russia needs is a visionary leader who seeks to bring Russia into the 21st century through increased political freedom, creation of rule of law, attack on massive corruption, and sustained broad-based economic development ... not someone who is stuck in Russia's dark past like Putin.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos

      You nailed it on the head, Bubinski. Putin thinks the Cold War is still on. That's why he was so opposed to the missile shield being based in Poland and Czech Republic. That's why he is anti-Georgia, anti-Ukraine, and pro-Belarus. He's an anachronism.

      June 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • brad

      i agree a system where the things taken from the earth are not stolen then sold to gods children make not my fathers house a store but a place of prayer and worship but you have a made it a den of thieves and liars and idol worshipers so no matter what change you can believe the things concerning christ must have an end and all offensive things he will gather out

      June 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark Couvillion

    There is little substantial difference between what the Russians are doing in this case and what the Isrealis are doing with their lobbying and intereference in US Policy and politics. The only exception is that the Isrealis are much more successfull.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • al

      What's the connections to Israelis? Israel serves many American Interests in the middle-East. Check with your parents who feed you racism

      July 3, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott gibson

      Amen brother.
      But, sadly..... All the espionage US Zionist(all jews) do on the USA will never be controlled or eliminated. Cant jail 6 million of them.

      sg

      July 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Juan Echavarria

    Sounds like the infamous "5" Cuban spies now serving time in a federal prison.. undertrained and underfunded. Perhaps the Ruskies were trained by the Cuban G2.

    June 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. es

    Next news would be Russia detained American spies...

    June 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Georgiy

    Of course, there is no difference between Russuans and Israelis. The Israelis are 50% people who came from Russia. Another 50% came from the other communist camp countries, like Poland... Nataniagu, Sharon, Golda Mair all are from Russia. And Israelis learnt from KGB how to spy.

    June 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Couvillion

      It is true that the Russians are no more nobel than the Isrealis. The real crime is that we let the Isrealis get away with spying, infiltrating the State Department, and forming lobby groups.

      June 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yuri

      Agreed with most of the wise posts here. Here is the big problem we can't get out heads around. Folks cold war never ended for Russia. We all so kind and well mannered here in US and the rest of Western world. Very hopeful and friendly to Russia. Well newsflash in Russia most of the people view us (US,Canada and the other G8) with anger and dislike. And it's not just Putin. I know this from first hands, just look at my name. All of the problems we have with so called terrorist, where did they come from? Terrorists where trained by KGB the entire idea was invented by KGB. So to make this short. We need to open our eyes and see who our friends are and who the enemies are. Do you think that Polish president airplane that crashed from from 30 feel and no one survived is an accident ? Waiki waiki America this is a wake up call to reconsider.

      June 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aleks

      @Yuri. You are idiot

      June 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • al

      What's the connection to Israelis? Israel serves many American Interests in the Middle-East. Israel is composed of 65% of people who came from Middle-East (Sephardic jews). Check your facts and discuss with your parents why they feed your racism

      July 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. StrummersGhost

    If these people were spying then they should be locked up, but all the righteous indignation about it here is really amusing. Does anyone actually think that we don't have spies in Russia attempting to collect the same information? Most people would say the intelligence community was negligent if they didn't, and they certainly deserve a fair trial if they're caught. In any case, I've heard all kinds of things about these people burying money and communicating in secret etc, but I haven't heard anything about WHAT information was passed, or even what kind of secrets these people would have been privy to at all. As far as I've seen none of them were working in places where they would have access to defense or policy secrets. Maybe we're just not being told, or maybe they haven't really got anything on them. Passing actual secrets should land someone in jail for a long time, but just playing at being spies and passing around freely available information should probably just get you kicked out of the country. Frankly, I can't quite see the motivation for a hot 28-year-old millionaire real estate mogul to spy for Russia – it certainly can't be for idealistic reasons!

    June 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mitch

    All nations spy on other nations. We do it, for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if we spy on our closest allies, and our closest allies spy on us. It's all part of the game. Every nation looks out for it's own interests, it's life.

    If these guys had anything of vital security interest, then lock them up. If not, then we should plaster their faces on every newspaper & news program and let them go back to Russia. If the whole world knows what they look like, they won't be able to spy again, lol.

    Should we ask Russia for an apology? Yes. Should we try and punish Russia? No. Instead, I suggest we take the higher road, and make fun of them mercilessly. I mean, seriously, who uses invisible ink these days? :-p

    June 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      I Ilike that idea, lets make fun of them. This so called spy ring doesnt make any sense. I dont really see where they broke any serious Laws. Just being Illegal and Putting Money in a safe deposit box and false Id on the two.I sure want to hear more about this and how the FBI found out about their spy ring. What was their agenda?Maybe they wanted to see how long you can live and prosper as a illegal alien in the US. We all know the answer to that. (FOR EVER) Just Look at Obama, He became President of the US. as an illegal.

      July 3, 2010 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. Linders

    Hmmmmm...Aldrich Ames, Robert Hansen, Jonathan Pollard...We fried the poor Rosenbergs in the '50s over chump change and these three loser American spies reside at ClubFed in solitary confinement – albeit for life...What I cannot fathom – what in the dickens is still so secret that countries still invest time and expense in spying? Our planet is totally transparent – warts and all...

    June 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. D

    We have spys that spy on our own government. It's interesting that they would arrest these people so early and announce it to the world instead of watching them longer.

    June 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Christian M

    Either the Russians dont have access to the internet or this is not the whole truth about this.

    June 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
1 2