Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Intelligence: Anna Chapman in action? FBI 'Ghost stories' videos ft. Russian spies

In an eerily timed release, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has published "troves" of photos and videos relating to what they call Operation Ghost Stories, a decade-long investigation into a group of Russian spies living and working in the US.

Everything about the release -- the name of the operation, the release on Halloween -- speaks of deliberation. Despite the fact that the alleged spies are no longer on US soil, and no charges can be filed against them, the FBI wants to make sure the subject matter is not forgotten. In the videos, viewers can see a montage of surveillance tapes showing covert meetings, exchanges of documents in the subway, hidden cash troves in gardens and much more. It was, according to the FBI, one of the longest operations in recent history -- and one that lets all foreign intelligence agencies know "that espionage threats to the US will not be tolerated." The term "Cold War" is mentioned quite a lot in the official statement on the FBI's website -- and the infamous "Cambridge Five" are also remembered.

Altogether, it paints a very bleak picture: Russia is still the bogeyman, and Halloween is a perfect time to remind everyone of it. Why else would the FBI wait for months before releasing this information? The arrests were made in June 2010, and within weeks all those who stood trial were found guilty of being unregistered agents of a foreign government and swapped for four prisoners from Russia. Now, over a year later, the FBI suddenly decides to make its surveillance material public?