The spy swap is complete. On an airport tarmac in Vienna, Austria, this morning, ten sexy Russian spies were exchanged for four unsexy but successful Russian guys who had spied for America or Britain in years past. It wasn’t the most exciting, spy-novel finish to this Cold War saga. There was no last-minute double cross, no tense standoff as each side demanded the other give up their prisoners first, no mist. Just two chartered planes parked next to each other for 90 minutes in broad daylight. Because, in the end, the United States and Russia just wanted to get this over with as quickly and smoothly as possible and put the whole thing behind them.
But don’t let it happen again, America says. According to ABC News, “U.S. officials said they wanted the spies to carry a message to Russian spy headquarters.” That message, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, is, “If you come to America to spy on Americans, you will be caught and exposed” — and then basically forgiven, and sent back home, because it’s easiest that way. You’ve been warned.
Spy Swap: Trade Takes Place, 10 Russian Spies Head Home [ABC News]
U.S., Russian Planes Leave Vienna After Spy Swap, AP Reports [Bloomberg Businessweek]