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Russia Captures Alleged American CIA Agent In Moscow 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-put-your-faith-in-offbrand-fake-mustaches dept.
wiredmikey tips this AFP report: "Russia on Tuesday said it had detained an alleged American CIA agent working undercover at the U.S. embassy who was discovered with a large stash of money as he was trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB, ex-KGB) identified the man as Ryan C. Fogle — third secretary of the political section of Washington's embassy in Moscow — and said he had been handed back to the embassy after his detention. Photographs published show his alleged espionage equipment including wigs, a compass, torch and even a mundane atlas of Moscow as well as a somewhat old fashioned mobile phone. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said Fogle was carrying 'special technical equipment, written instructions for recruiting a Russian citizen, a large sum of money and means for changing a person's appearance.' The FSB also said the U.S. intelligence service has made repeated attempts to recruit the staff of Russian law enforcement agencies and special services. The incident comes amid a new chill in Russian-U.S. relations sparked by the Syrian crisis and concern in Washington over what it sees as President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on human rights."
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Russia Captures Alleged American CIA Agent In Moscow

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  • Bitcoins (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:20PM (#43726583)

    What if he would have been secretly paid Bitcoins?

    • by flyneye (84093)

      In Soviet Union, you don't come from U.S. embassy to buy large amount of hemp from undercover FSB officer, ..dude.

    • by elucido (870205)

      What if he would have been secretly paid Bitcoins?

      He is the officer. The people he wanted to recruit should have been paid in Bitcoins.

  • Amateur (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quarterbuck (1268694) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:22PM (#43726605)
    This spy seems to have all the marks of an made-up-Amateur or a set-up. The guy is wearing a wig, has a hat over it (not dyed hair) even when he is on a diplomatic passport and is openly approaching Russians. Then the Russians have a camera crew and policemen waiting in the street to arrest him and oddly enough he is found to be carrying money, maps and more wigs in his bag. This seems like Americans set-up a honeypot and the Russians jumped on it. Probably the guy had been told already that this is his last assignment in Russia.
    Either that, or the CIA decided to have some fun with a Rookie and set him up with a couple of wigs and told him to go on a "Top Secret Assignment" and the poor slob got caught.
    • Re:Amateur (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:28PM (#43726663) Homepage Journal

      Yeah he sounds a bit like Ben Zygier [wikipedia.org] to be honest.

    • Re:Amateur (Score:5, Funny)

      by TWX (665546) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:29PM (#43726679)
      Maybe Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase can make a movie about it...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not sure I see the tech angle on this /. story but I find it interesting that he had a plastic bag that says RFID Shielded.

      Here's a picture of the blue RFID bag:
      http://admin.new.rt.com/files/news/1f/11/50/00/48.jpg [rt.com]

    • Re:Amateur (Score:5, Informative)

      by lgw (121541) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @08:07PM (#43726955) Journal

      "Russia on Tuesday said it had detained an alleged American CIA agent working undercover at the U.S. embassy

      This spy seems to have all the marks of an made-up-Amateur or a set-up.

      There are two kinds of CIA employees: "undercover agents" and those who have ever entered a US embassy. This separation is required by US law (after some casualness about this lead to many deaths, IIRC). If you've ever walked into an US embassy, you can never be an undercover agent, simple as that.

      A goodly amount of "spying" is simply being in-country and collecting the local media and the local mood and reporting it back. What the government is telling the people and how the people are reacting. Research into local public records. That sort of non-secret intelligence gathering is still the CIAs job, and is probably what most of their employees abroad do.

      It's also worth remembering that, unlike what movies might have you believe, the undercover agents don't personally "spy" in the sense of sneaking into government buildings and such. They develop relationships with people who are authorized to be in those buildings, or with "freedom fighters" who are shooting at those people, or whatever. Their job is to convince others to do the stuff you'd make a movie about.

      • Re:Amateur (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @08:35PM (#43727195)

        You're assuming that:
        A. Our federal government isn't totally fucking retarded.
        B. Our federal government follows any of their own rules/laws/policies.
        Both of which have been proven about as false as possible after this past week.
        I've always wondered if our government was actually bad... or just inept boobs. You know, never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence... color me surprised to find out they are both malicious AND incompetent.

        • Honestly, after the last week of headlines, I'm wondering if there is any other meaningful way that this administration can fuck up, without causing wars or prompt economic disaster.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        There are two kinds of CIA employees: "undercover agents" and those who have ever entered a US embassy. This separation is required by US law (after some casualness about this lead to many deaths, IIRC). If you've ever walked into an US embassy, you can never be an undercover agent, simple as that.

        Sorry, but this is the most ridiculous statement I have read on this thread. If it's public federal law can you provide ANY citation? Should be all over the place but I can't find anything even resembling it...

    • If this was some serious spy, this is not how FSB would have cashed on the catch. This thing would have been quietly dealt with between agencies or they would have just kept an eye on him as on a "known spy" to use for spreading misinformation or something.

      Since he is some entry position diplomat, the only thing this catch is good for, is to get some anti-US outrage inside the country going.

      No biggie, really.

    • by a_hanso (1891616)

      Also, he was caught with "written instructions for recruiting a Russian citizen"??

    • Plus he's carrying written instructions, which is an incredibly stupid thing, and a compass which is going to be of little use in a city. This stinks of a setup. I don't see what the CIA could gain from this, but I can imagine Russia doing it as a propaganda piece - impersonate a CIA agent, 'recruit' someone, catch him, and announce to your people that the cold war isn't over yet but your superior Russian intelligence agents can still catch the minions of the capitalist pigs, or whatever the current rhetori

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      This spy seems to have all the marks of an made-up-Amateur or a set-up.

      Yeah, except the U.S. has apparently admitted that this "amateur" was working for the U.S. embassy (though denied he was a spy).

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:27PM (#43726653)

    ... is this bloke some kind of amateur Walter Mitty type, or is he for real?

  • by Kittenman (971447) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:29PM (#43726671)
    tit-for-tat expulsions that usually follow someone (innocent or guilty) getting nabbed? How long before the CIA nab a Russian agent in Washington DC?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:32PM (#43726693)

    Their spies are hot redheads, ours look like dimwitted fratboys. I can't tell if we're losing or winning.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Their spies are hot redheads, ours look like dimwitted fratboys. I can't tell if we're losing or winning.

      Who do you mean by our spies, comrade?

    • Re:Lopsided war (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cusco (717999) <brian,bixby&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @09:19PM (#43727485)
      I realize that was meant to be a frivolous statement, but there's an actual reason for that. The CIA has traditionally recruited from within the 'old boy network' of Ivy League fraternities and secret societies, people whose loyalty to the existing power structure they can pretty much guarantee because they were born into it.
      • I realize that was meant to be a frivolous statement, but there's an actual reason for that. The CIA has traditionally recruited from within the 'old boy network' of Ivy League fraternities and secret societies, people whose loyalty to the existing power structure they can pretty much guarantee because they were born into it.

        You might want to ask someone how that can work out.

        The Cambridge spy ring [bbc.co.uk]

  • Seems that way from the number of comments posted so far.
    • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:52PM (#43726839)

      What's to talk about? The remarks about the blindingly amateurish nature of this guy have already been made. Honey pot or patsy, either way, we know damn well that Russians aren't recruited by the American Third Secretary of the embassy who toddles around with a bag full of wigs. Sounds like Putin called up Obama and said, "I need a Big Bad America thing in the news. What can you do for me?" and Obama responded with, "Hey Rob! Who do we not like in the embassy?" and there you go. Or vice versa. Does it really matter?

      In short, we're bored with this story. It's "news" only for particularly lame values of manufactured news. We're so bored with it nobody is even bothering to generate conspiracy theories about this being a calibration test of fake spy stories, to see who reacts and how.

      • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @08:11PM (#43726999)
        If you read a bit about the history of the CIA you'll see a lot of blindingly amateurish stuff. They still trust that "polygraph" voodoo which was a scam that came from the guy that wrote the Wonder Woman comic (no I am not joking).
  • yeah. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:43PM (#43726775)

    concern in Washington over what it sees as President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on human rights."

    Coming from the US with its imprisoning of more people (by absolute numbers and percentage of population) than any other country in the world. Indefinite detention, torture, summary execution. Yeah. The US has credibility when it comes to human rights.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Yes, GITMO etc removes the moral high ground, but that doesn't change things like a difficult journalist getting assassinated as a present for Putin's birthday last year.
      • Yes, GITMO etc removes the moral high ground, but that doesn't change things like a difficult journalist getting assassinated as a present for Putin's birthday last year.

        Actually GITMO is precisely to maintain the moral high ground by providing extraterritoriality. The extraterritoriality is what makes it safe from enforcement of US law, and makes the president and his underlings safe from accusations of violating US law by condoning events on its premises.

        This is exactly why it has not been shut down, despite the campaign promises of several presidents, including Obama. Once sworn in, they get a thorough briefing on everything, which includes a little sit-down about GITM

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          precisely to maintain the moral high ground by providing extraterritoriality

          That's precisely the opposite of maintaining the moral high ground.

        • by dbIII (701233)

          Actually GITMO is precisely to maintain the moral high ground by providing extraterritoriality.

          No that's called being a weasel with a trick that doesn't fool anyone but avoids some inconvenient wording. It actually results in a greater loss of moral high ground than taking responsibility would. I doubt even Nixon would have tried to pull that one, but here we are today with it.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          Yes, GITMO etc removes the moral high ground, but that doesn't change things like a difficult journalist getting assassinated as a present for Putin's birthday last year.

          Actually GITMO is precisely to maintain the moral high ground by providing extraterritoriality. The extraterritoriality is what makes it safe from enforcement of US law, and makes the president and his underlings safe from accusations of violating US law by condoning events on its premises.

          This is exactly why it has not been shut down, despite the campaign promises of several presidents, including Obama. Once sworn in, they get a thorough briefing on everything, which includes a little sit-down about GITMO with the White House General Council, after which it stays open to aboid personal criminal liability for the staff in the executive branch, up to and including the president.

          are you as retarded as GWB and the in office Obama? everyone knows why they did gitmo - precisely that's why it's not maintaining any moral high ground, it's an ongoing example of how the american government can do what it wants and not give a fuck about rules they imposed on themselves or rules from international agreements.

          it doesn't maintain moral high ground. it only maintains nitpicking-with-laws high ground whilst clearly being against the intention of said laws. it only provides any high ground if yo

      • by smash (1351)
        Take GITMO out of it and you still have more of your population in jail than any other country on the planet.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Also known as the "and you are lynching Negroes" defense: The Soviets used the endemic racism and violence in the US as an excuse to send people to the gulag or have them killed after a show trial.

      Let's go with this: The Russians are wrong for going after, for instance, Pussy Riot. The Americans are wrong for going after, say, Yaser Hamdi and Bradley Manning in the way that they did. There are some countries with a good human rights record, but Russia and the US are not among them.

  • by mike449 (238450) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:51PM (#43726837)

    A compass, a paper map of Moscow and a flashlight? Is this all CIA has in its arsenal? O yeah, a semi-literate "recruitment letter".
    Another detail that make it sound even more ridiculous: an FSB guy lecturing Fogle on Russian primetime news about how spying is bad. Looks like some really bad spy movie.
    I think this story was created by FSB for consumption within Russia. It is possible they knew more about his activities, but they are not telling the interesting stuff and for some reason decided to disclose this "evidence" that makes people laugh.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Go check out some of the gear in the Spy Museum [spymuseum.org] some time. You would be amazed at how lame and silly some of the CIA equipment has been over the decades, not to mention their instruction manuals (which are often downright bizarre and intentionally hilarious).

      Keep in mind that the CIA is not exactly known for recruiting the best and brightest. When it comes to recruits, they have traditionally valued loyalty and obedience over actual intelligence.

  • Not trying to start a flame-war here, but I've been seeing a fair amount of strictly politics related postings here lately. Could anybody please explain to me how this is on topic for Slashdot?
    • there are definitely espionage and foreign relations nerds. this would also qualify under "stuff that matters", since incidents that affect the peaceful relations of two world powers would count as such.
    • by neo8750 (566137)
      nerds are into politics sometimes?
    • by gman003 (1693318)

      Story is about a spy, James Bond is a spy, Bond uses crazy gadgets, nerds love crazy gadgets.

      QED.

    • by tlambert (566799)

      Not trying to start a flame-war here, but I've been seeing a fair amount of strictly politics related postings here lately. Could anybody please explain to me how this is on topic for Slashdot?

      I'm guessing the flashlight he had was a Google Firesword?

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      As mentioned in this slashdot discussion page he had a RFID shielded bag.
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-14/russia-captures-us-embassy-worker-act-cia-recruitment [zerohedge.com]
      Wireless is safe for "anyone" in the USA but we see the CIA understanding the need for a shielded bag.
      We now know the NSA and CIA loves/trusts Google.
      The need to buy a clean computer like device with cash to email from.
      The CIA feels they can lure/own a Russian with $100k.
      The going rate from the CIA is now $1 million.
      New fratboy fancy d
  • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @08:05PM (#43726949)
    Excuse me Sir. Your shoe is ringing.
  • "We suspect this man is spy."
    "Take his money, Tell him only lies, see where lies turn up."

    "Maybe they know, we know, he is spy?"
    "Possible. He has been searched?"
    "He is carry a compass, torch, map of Moscow, mobile phone..."

    "Yes, is spy. They expect we know. Use our lies to deceive. Make false leak to trick us... Kill him -- Wait, he has wig, yes?"
    "Has not only a wig, but two."

    "Two wigs? Ah! Is sign of double agent! Carry one wig, is a risk. Two is job application."
    "You want I should not kill him then?"
    "Of course not. Pay him standard fee; Send back to embassy. Tell this story to news, so CIA know he can not spy here. He can go home, work for us."
    "Moscow Winter is the Father Land's greatest ally. Thin blooded American will do anything to escape it."

    "One thing. Why we must speak filthy English, not Russian?"
    "Everyone knows. Is basic spy training to trick double agen--- Wait, you are American SPY!"
    ::BLAM::
    "No. I'm a Brit you poor, dead git."

  • Every U.S. embassy has CIA staff.

  • by SysKoll (48967) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @09:53PM (#43727657)

    Yeah, as the OP said, there is a lot of concern about Putin's crackdown on human rights. Why, the rumor is that he is using the tax administration to harass opponents [wsj.com] and that his chief Justice has grabbed phone records from news agencies [slashdot.org] that don't tow the line.

    Fortunately, such things would never happen in the US.

  • doesnt add up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fazey (2806709) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @11:01PM (#43728157)
    This doesnt make sense. CIA operatives are better than this. First since when does the CIA write a note that can be used as evidence. Next, search for the translation of the letter... they wanted him to sign up for gmail. FFS gmail? Really? Then they would contact him via that email address in a week. This seems like Russian propaganda and not a CIA operative being caught. Operatives always have a way out, and they would repeatedly try the same guy. If they wanted him bad enough, he would have been kidnapped. Nothing about this makes sense.
  • Are you sure this guy isn't from the Surete?
    The description sounds like something from Get Smart or something else.....not a serious CIA operative.

  • He looked more like operetta singer in this blond wig.
  • The equipment looks pretty lame, although I'm no expert at what is effective in avoiding surveillance or implication.

    What I wonder is if the FSB thought this guy was a spy and found no evidence (which is likely), but wanted to expel him (which is reasonable), why would the FSB not plant some grotesquely obvious evidence during the arrest? Would the CIA complain? How would they prove anything?

    It would be more likely the US would complain about an unjustified request for deportation, meanwhile this is an open

    • by smash (1351)
      More likely, he's a spy. You think the US doesn't spy on other countries? The country who spent up big on things like the U2, SR71, Satellites, drones, etc?
  • The CIA and MI5 on one side, with the "no such thing as a former Chekist" FSB on the other, makes for more hijinks than anything Hal Roach could have produced with Laurel and Hardy or The Little Rascals.

    At least the Russians have some foxy spies, even if they perform like ZaSu Pitts in a custard pie fight.

    And these people are professionals? It is to laugh.

    No wonder the CIA leans on the Mossad for a great deal of information.

  • I don't see them maintaining anything like Guantanamo Bay?

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