21st Century Spies

July 24, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

When Anna Chapman, the red-headed Russian spy, was caught in the United States, people derided Russia for planting an agent in suburbia. These people don’t understand how spies work in reality writes Edward Lucas:

  • Spies have to be boring. If they want to transport secret documents then they need to build careers where they get to travel.
  • If on the other hand they want to recruit agents, then they need jobs where they can meet lots of people without drawing suspicion.
  • These spies are almost impossible to detect. They can’t be rooted out precisely because they’re so boring.
  • Spies like Chapman build boring histories for themselves so that they can be considered for employment in places where they might have access to secrets.

The full article is here, and discusses many other things including the evolution of spies in the Soviet Union and Russia – the role they play in society, the rules they play by, what their lifestyle is like, how they exploit America’s strengths, the author’s own history, and the time when Putin was rejected from the KGB.

Source: Foreign Policy