Intelligence: December 15, 2002

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In the past month, both Sweden and Canada have each expelled a pair of Russian diplomats for engaging in espionage. When the Cold War ended, Russia still had a large network of experienced spies working out of their embassies. Throughout the 1990s, this espionage system shifted from collecting military intelligence to seeking industrial secrets. Actually, even during the Cold War, Russian spies sought technical secrets. But back then, Russia had a policy of developing technology, based on stolen information and not offered for sale overseas. Today, Russia's industries are more export oriented and the industrial espionage seeks to give legal exports an advantage. In that respect, their illegal information gathering is no different from what is often done, usually within legal bounds, by many Western firms. The Russian efforts are liable to end up with Russian firms defending the use of illegally obtained technology in court, but this has not stopped Russian spies from continuing to do what they do. 

 


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