Spying a Real Payday

By Hosenball, Mark | Newsweek, July 19, 2010 | Go to article overview

Spying a Real Payday


Hosenball, Mark, Newsweek


Byline: Mark Hosenball

The terms of the U.S.-Russia spy swap that took place last week certainly seemed unbalanced. In exchange for the 10 Russian sleeper agents who were recently exposed living in American suburbia, the Obama administration got only four accused Western spies from Moscow. At least one of the four was indeed a hero, someone who had helped bust top-level Soviet mole Robert Hanssen, according to one current and two former U.S. national-security officials, who requested anonymity when discussing sensitive information. But in another sense, the Russians could be winners too: the confessed spies might be able to cash in.

U.S. prosecutors wove a special provision into the plea deal that the Russians signed, forcing them to give Uncle Sam any proceeds generated by their notoriety. But with the former spies now outside the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, can the Justice Department enforce its terms? Don't bet on it, says Geoffrey Robertson, a prominent London lawyer. British authorities successfully seized profits earned by George Blake, a Russian plant who published a popular autobiography after escaping from a London prison in 1966. But Blake had managed to infiltrate MI6, which means he was legally bound to secrecy. …

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Spying a Real Payday
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