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Russia responds to spy ring bust in the U.S.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to his Cabinet. The Kremlin denounced the U.S. arrests.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to his Cabinet. The Kremlin denounced the U.S. arrests.
AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service

A top news headline that looks as if it had been ripped from a Cold War spy novel. or a James Bond film, has provoked a harsh response from the Russian government, for that very reason, according to AOL News.

Russians spying since the 1990s, using methods old and new, as if in a spy novel

The number of people arrested as part of an alleged Russian spy ring has risen to 11 since the story broke. The people involved have allegedly been infiltrating American society and passing notes on top U.S. policy to Russian government agents for as long as a decade.

An 18-page FBI report on the matter says the agents passed information using techniques involving both technology, such as laptop-to-laptop private wireless networks, and "Hollywood methods" like swapping bags in passing at public places and invisible ink. The Chicago Tribune, amongst many other news outlets, dubbed one of the suspects a sultry "femme fatale" that seamlessly fit into her cover as a young entrepreneur while secretly feeding intelligence to Moscow.

The FBI report lists the U.S. government's foreign policy, particularly towards Russia, as a high priority for the agents. The FBI said the messages intercepted also included notes on nuclear weapons, U.S. arms controls, Iran, CIA leadership, presidential elections, and Congress and political parties.

Moscow acknowledges Russian citizens were arrested, but calls the bust a throwback to the Cold War, but say it won't affect relations

It is unclear exactly how or when each was recruited into the espionage network, and many of those arrested had reportedly used fake names and claimed U.S. citizenship while actually being Russian.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has rebuked the U.S. government and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI,  for conjuring up "Cold War-era spy stories." Moscow has acknowledged that some of those arrested hold Russian citizenship, but that they have done nothing to harm U.S. interests.

Russian officials condemned the spy ring bust story as an attempt by some in the U.S. government to undercut President Barack Obama's moves to improve a long-strained relationship with the Kremlin.

"These actions are unfounded and pursue unseemly goals," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "We don't understand the reasons which prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to make a public statement in the spirit of Cold War-era spy stories."

Despite their angry response, Russian government officials said that they and their U.S. counterparts are determined not to let this episode derail their plans to improve bilateral relations.


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