The Justice Department said the suspects were supposed to have recruited intelligence agents but were not directly involved in obtaining U.S. secrets themselves. They were charged with acting as agents of a foreign government,…

Well, duh. I am astonished. In a country that lived through so many years of a cold war you’d think journalists would know that ‘deep cover’ spies act as handlers rather than Tom Cruise-esque villains. ‘ Not directly involved with obtaining

US secrets themselves’ means they didn’t put on nightvision goggles and a catsuit in order to penetrate secure facilities with a thumb drive.  Nobody actually does that. Spies look for

disaffected/disgruntled/moneystrapped citizens of the target nation who already have placement and access to sensitive information. Then they pay those people to put papers from their desk into a briefcase and drop it at a pre-arranged location. The ‘drop’ is just about the most glamorous bit of espionage activity that actually happens in the real world.

Now, at this point I must say I am not impressed with the tradecraft of anyone who puts ’99 Fake street’ when buying a drop phone. Sure, when it’s your hundredth drop phone, I imagine one’s creativity could become strained. But ‘Fake street?’

It will be very interesting to see if any treason or espionage arrests come out of this busted spy ring. I hope none do. If you can level such charges and make them stick it’s likely already cost some American asset his/her life. Hopefully we caught these folks before they could do

any real damage. And, on the other side of the coin, I hope they were actually spies and that the charges are not trumped up bits of fluff designed to spur political change of some sort.

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