[FPSPACE] More on the Spy Swap....behind the scenes

Peter Pesavento pjp961 at svol.net
Fri Jul 9 13:10:05 EDT 2010


JimO,

 

This news item just hit the news wires.DCI Panetta and his counterpart at
SVR, Mikhail Fradkov, negotiated the swap.

 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100709/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_spy_swap

 

So don't be quick to blame Obama for the structure of what, and how, it
happened.  

 

>From the Associated Press

 

Official: CIA's Panetta led spy swap negotiations

By KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press Writer Kimberly Dozier, Associated
Press Writer 39 mins ago 

WASHINGTON - CIA director Leon Panetta and Russia's spy chief worked out the
largest spy swap since the Cold War in just a few days, a U.S. official
says.

Panetta had already developed "a sound relationship" with Mikhail Fradkov,
head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, that allowed the two former
adversaries to quickly clinch the deal, which traded 10 Russian sleeper
agents for four prisoners Russia accused of spying for the U.S.

The talks that led to Friday's exchange of spies in Vienna began, the
official said, shortly after the FBI arrested the Russian agents in the U.S.
because both sides wanted a speedy resolution of the case, which could have
cast a pall over improving U.S.-Russian relations.

Other U.S. government figures helped Panetta negotiate the diplomatic angles
of the talks, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity to
discuss sensitive intelligence matters.

The official added that the CIA and FBI already "basically knew everything
about the Russian network when we rolled it up." He said that while the
United States could have followed through with all the charges and locked
the spies up for years, it was clear the 10 Russian agents were more
valuable as trade bait.

Because they had never penetrated the U.S. government, the official said,
they could not reveal any sensitive information. The official would not
confirm whether anyone in the ring had ever handled classified information.

The suspects pleaded guilty to the least serious charges against them - of
being unregistered foreign agents.

The official added that the swap should help remove an "irritant" that could
have been an obstacle to U.S.-Russian relations, but that no one expects the
Russians to stop spying.

Former CIA analyst and 50-year-plus agency veteran Charlie Allen said it was
clear that Moscow and the White House did not want the spectacle of a long
drawn out trial of 10 "illegals" to derail the resetting of U.S.-Russian
relations after years of friction.

The positive yield for U.S. intelligence, he said, is the signal it sends
that the U.S. will bring in from the "real cold of Russian prisons ...
individuals we can never abandon." He was referring to "The Spy Who Came in
from the Cold," the 1963 John Le Carre novel that described Cold War
espionage.

Allen said the CIA's relocation program for such spies "is quite good. It
was once terrible." He did not elaborate.

"It does not mean that the intelligence activities will be diminished on
either side, and it does not mean that the Russians will not continue to run
'illegals,' " he said. "Illegals are in the Russian services "DNA," he said,
"and, rest assured, the SVR will continue."

Allen spoke after a fundraising gala, in honor of the CIA's fallen,
headlined by Dan Akroyd Thursday night. The spy swap was the talk of the
event, held by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

 

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