Intelligence: March 25, 2001

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The recent expulsion of fifty Russian diplomats from Washington was seen as somehow connected with the recent arrest of Russian spy Robert Hanssen. Actually, that's probably only partially true. Hanssen was caught because America obtained the services of spy in the Russian intelligence community. Our spy was at least as well placed for us as Hanssen was for the Russians. Our spy delivered what appeared to be Hanssen's KGB file, including original documents written in Hanssen's own hand. Now that's first class espionage, the mother of all smoking guns, as it were. Hanssen is now faced with a choice; cooperate fully or face the death penalty. But what of the American superspy? Why should we think he (or she) is a one trick pony. Hanssen was obviously the biggest fish, as he worked in American counterintelligence. But the Russians had plenty of other spies, contacts and sources in America. The Russians believe in quantity, and that would take a lot of Russian case officers to manage things. Say fifty people.


 


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