Russian spies: Three remaining mysteries
For all that has been made public about the sweeping Russian spy scandal, tantalizing mysteries remain – some of which may not be answered until US and Russian archives are opened.
The world has learned a lot about the Russian spy suspects in the US in recent days.Skip to next paragraph
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Sultry Anna Chapman has broken hearts on two continents, for instance; her father may have been a top official in the old KGB. Juan Jose Lazaro Sr. has vowed greater loyalty to Russian intelligence than to his son, say prosecutors – who add they don’t know Mr. Lazaro’s real name. A woman whose Virginia neighbors knew her as “Patricia Mills” has told court officials her real name is Natalia Pereverzeva. And so on.
Meanwhile, legal cases against the suspects have begun to lurch forward.
Most of the accused in custody have appeared in open court at bail hearings in New York, Massachusetts, or Virginia. Their indictments don’t mention espionage charges, but that does not mean they could get off lightly. Experts note they still face tough federal charges, particularly those charged with money laundering, which can result in lengthy prison terms under sentencing guidelines.
Hundreds of hours of video and audio surveillance over a decade have produced vast amounts of evidence against the suspects, eight of whom are husband-and-wife teams who allegedly were sent to the US to live as Americans and gradually develop ties to policymakers and other important people.
But for all that has been made public about the sweeping Russian spy scandal of 2010, tantalizing mysteries remain – some of which may not be answered until US and Russian archives about the case are opened decades in the future. Among them:
What alerted the FBI to these suspects in the first place? In charging documents about the cases released so far, there is lots of detail of alleged activities – cash buried in upstate New York, and uncovered two years later; secret messages inscribed in photos on public websites, etc. But there is no mention of founding incidents – whatever it was that brought these people to the attention of the US government.