While most of the friends and neighbors of the members of the recently busted alleged Russian spy ring profess to have had no idea anything was amiss (one neighbor even told the Times they were "suburbia personified"), inevitably, some brave, perceptive souls have emerged who claim to have suspected them all along. Because of momentary slips or even a fleeting facial expression, these brilliant Americans knew that these couples — who lived completely under the radar in the suburbs, having sex, raising the resulting children in order to maintain their cover — were up to no good. These are the internationally relevant versions of all those people on NY1 who turn up, peeping outside of their doorways at the cameras, and say, "I always knew that kid was up to no good."
One know-it-all in particular used her own brilliant linguistic skills to nearly undo one alleged spy duo in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From the Post:
...accused spy Tracey Lee Ann Foley warmly approached a neighbor and introduced herself after buying a condo with her husband, alleged agent Donald Howard Heathfield. "We started talking in English, and she was telling me she was from Montreal, so we started speaking in French," said the neighbor, Doris Stanley, who studied French, Russian and Italian at Yale. "Then suddenly she switched to English and I said, 'Oh, this is odd, I've never understood anyone from Montreal because they use a different grammar and there's a different accent than natives of France,' " Stanley said. "I said, 'Pardon me, this is a little rude, but where did you say you're from in Montreal?'" Foley replied, "The reason you ... understand me is because I went to school in Switzerland," Stanley recalled.
"She started explaining more about her accent, and she appeared a little nervous-like, and she said, 'Oh, you know everyone in this country comes from somewhere else, or has relatives from somewhere else,' " Stanley said. "It was at that point at which I said, 'Oh yeah, my father came from Odessa' " — a city in the former USSR — and "I saw her eyes widen, I swear, I saw a definite emotional reaction," Stanley said.
The Post calls this a moment when their cover was "nearly blown." Down in Montclair, New Jersey, there was a similar near miss!
Alleged spies Richard and Cynthia Murphy told neighbors they were from Toronto. "But when this one woman mentioned a particular [Toronto] neighborhood to them, they didn't know what she was talking about," said local resident Chris Manthy.
Of course, every other neighbor of the Murphys was unsuspicious. Including a pair of their closest friends, who, when told by the FBI that the Murphys might be spies, offered to take care of their children while the couple was detained. But Chris Manthy and Doris Stanley, the neighbors who claimed to have suspected the whole time: Those are true American heroes.