U.S. Officials Knew About the Russian Spies for Ten Years

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

According to the Times, the F.B.I. has actually been monitoring Anna Chapman and her crew for a decade, and they gave the first detailed briefing to the White House last February. So why act now? "By late May and early June, counterespionage officials grew concerned that several of the agents were planning to leave the country this summer and concluded that they would have to arrest them," the Times reports. Obama was briefed about the case on June 11, sixteen days before the arrests, and from the beginning the idea of a swap seemed the likely outcome. Maria A. Veselova, a lawyer for one of the arrested-and-swapped spies, said it's all politics! (Well, yeah.) "It has to do with the relations between the two countries, and with political games going on at the top,” Veselova said, of the handling of the spies, and the ultimate swap. “It is always connected with these chess games.” Meanwhile, last we checked, Chapman was "completely unaware" of her media attention, but now that all the spies are out of U.S. custody, they might face their scariest assignment of all: Googling themselves. [NYT]