Department of Justice Press Release
Multi-year FBI Investigation Uncovers Network in the United States Tasked with Recruiting Sources and Collecting Information for Russia
WASHINGTON—Eight individuals were arrested Sunday for allegedly carrying out long-term, “deep-cover” assignments in the United States on behalf of the Russian Federation, the Justice Department announced today. Two additional defendants were also arrested Sunday for allegedly participating in the same Russian intelligence program within the United States.
In total, 11 defendants, including the 10 arrested, are charged in two separate criminal complaints with conspiring to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States. Federal law prohibits individuals from acting as agents of foreign governments within the United States without prior notification to the U.S. Attorney General. Nine of the defendants are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The defendants known as “Richard Murphy” and “Cynthia Murphy” were arrested yesterday by FBI agents at their residence in Montclair, N.J., and are expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan today. Vicky Pelaez and the defendant known as “Juan Lazaro” were arrested yesterday at their residence in Yonkers, N.Y., and are expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan today. Anna Chapman was arrested in Manhattan yesterday and is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan today.
The defendants known as “Michael Zottoli” and “Patricia Mills” were arrested yesterday at their residence in Arlington, Va., and are appearing in federal court in Alexandria, Va., today. Defendant Mikhail Semenko was arrested yesterday at his residence in Arlington and is appearing in federal court in Alexandria today. In addition, the defendants known as “Donald Howard Heathfield” and “Tracey Lee Ann Foley” were arrested at their residence in Boston yesterday and are appearing in federal court in Boston today. The defendant known as “Christopher R. Metsos” remains at large.
The charges are filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. All the defendants are charged with this violation. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. All the defendants except Chapman and Semenko are charged with this violation.
This case is the result of a multi-year investigation conducted by the FBI; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; and the Counterespionage Section and the Office of Intelligence within the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Farbiarz, Glen Kopp and Jason Smith of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Trial Attorneys Kathleen Kedian and Richard Scott of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaints are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Read the criminal complaints: (Via CBS)
Question of the Day:
We have been listening and watching for over 10 years…
Why bust the spies now?
Russia Today – Natalia Makarova
The 300-page report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – was presented on Monday by its head Heinz Fromm along with Maiziere, Deutsche Welle (DW) writes.
The authors of the report underline that Germany is a country with an economy oriented for the development of technologies and export.
“The situation with dangers [to German economy] is concrete. Such states as Russia and China – via their secret services – actively conduct undercover work in such fields as economy, science and research,” the document reads.
According to the data released, Russia and China also “track technical information as well as business strategies.”
The most dangerous inquiries, the document states, “are those aimed at mobile communications and computer systems (conducted via internet) of various businesses and state organizations. International financial and economic crisis also has its negative effect upon security structures of private enterprises.”
The Interior Minister said Monday that the threat of industrial espionage – which increased in 2009 – was of particular concern to the government. Largely the Internet is to blame, Maiziere said, as the exchange of information via the worldwide web increases the risk of falling victim to spies.
Maiziere noted that currently companies underestimate this risk and urged them to work together with the government to protect technologies from competitors.
“The effectiveness of these measures depends in a large part on the willingness of the companies to constructively implement them,” DW quotes him as saying. “Small and medium sized companies don’t often have enough awareness of the danger.”
Earlier in May, the problem was voiced by the head of Germany’s counterintelligence, Burkhard Even. Speaking at a security forum in Bonn, reported Germany’s The Local, he claimed that it was estimated that out of the 500 staff of the Russian embassy in Berlin, 150 were working as intelligence agents, disguised as journalists and diplomats – and there might be a lot more of those among about five million Russians living in Germany.
Citing studies, he added that the German economy loses around €50 billion a year as a result of industrial espionage by Russia and China.
However, a former intelligence officer – who refused to have his name published – told RT that it is “a policy of double standards that keeps working against Russia.”
“What we can witness today proves that [the accusations by the German side] are not true,” he said, adding that the German intelligence agency probably has not worked professionally enough if it comes up with such statements.
“We do not need to steal anything since we can create everything ourselves,” the source stressed.
He recalled a phrase by Alexander III of Russia: “Russia has no friends, because of its hugeness. It has only two reliable allies: its army and fleet.”
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