THE RUSSIANS HAVE NEVER STOPPED SPYING ON US
By Alan Caruba
In 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Robert Hanssen, a FBI special agent who was a Russian spy, judged to be one of the most damaging moles in United States history. As Bill Gertz, a Washington Times reporter, notes in his latest book, Enemies: How America’s Foes Steal Our Vital Secrets — and How We Let It Happen, “Today, nearly 140 nations and some 35 known and suspected terrorist groups target the United States through espionage, according to intelligence officials.”
My thoughts turned to espionage as the saga of the murder of Alexander Litvenko, a former member of the KGB’s counterintelligence division -- now known as the Federal Security Service (FSB) -- unfolded. In 2000, Litvenko had fled with his wife and son to Great Britain, where he was granted asylum. He became an author and outspoken critic of the Putin regime.
Silencing the enemies of Russian ambitions has a very long history, including the famed Soviet gulags of the Stalinist era.
Americans, these days, are prone to worry about whether the government is listening into their phone conversations, despite repeated confirmations that the National Security Agency is listening to calls from overseas to suspected Islamic terrorists located here. The notion that everyone’s phone calls are being monitored is a fairly idiotic claim, given the large volume of telephone calls and the utter waste of resources which would result from the U.S. government's spying on Americans who pose no threat of terrorism.
There was a bit of a flurry of outrage over recent remarks by Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, who suggested that listening in on our enemies, particularly those here in America, was a good idea, since they intended to kill us all. Common sense like that always gets Liberals atwitter. As some sage noted, however, the First Amendment is not a suicide pact.
Some lunatic Muslim convert, seized with “Instant Jihad Syndrome,” was recently arrested by FBI agents, after he confided to informants that he intended to kill a lot of people while they did some Christmas shopping in a mall. Kudos to the FBI.
However, Gertz notes:
This is not good news. Indeed, Gertz asserts that “The FBI has failed to protect its people, its secrets, and U.S. national security.”
Enemies devotes an entire chapter to “Russia’s Aggressive Espionage,” which has included planting a spy in the U.S. Central Command’s warfighting headquarters in Doha, Qatar, where the Russian spy obtained detailed information about the 2003 plan to invade Iraq and transmitted the information to the spy's controllers, who, in turn, gave it to Saddam Hussein.
The two most devastating spy cases in recent times involved Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, both Americans and both of whom were spying for Russia. According to Gertz, “There are as many Russian spies in the United States today as there were during the Cold War.” The book also documents Red China’s successful espionage program.
There is, in fact, no good news in Gertz’s book.
On the cusp of 2007, this should signal why we probably do not know what Iran is up to. Or North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and a laundry list of nations and non-state groups like al-Qa'ida that would like to see the greatest experiment in constitutional democracy and free market capitalism come to a nasty end.
And, finally, Americans have just put the power of Congress into the hands of a group of people who would much rather “talk” to our enemies than kill them. Our enemies have no such qualms. As easily as they would kill Alexander Litvinenko, we can look forward to more efforts to encourage America to self-destruct.
The ancient Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, long ago wrote that the greatest skill in war is to defeat of one’s enemy without firing a shot.
Espionage -- Foreign Intelligence & Enemy Espionage
U.S. Intelligence & America's National Security
The Fifth Column -- America's Internal Enemies:
Disloyalty, Subversion, Sedition, & Treason
The American Political & Cultural Left:
Liberals, Statists, Socialists, & Other Leftists
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
International Politics & World Disorder:
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Counterterrorism & U.S. National Security
U.S. National Security Strategy
Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
Caruba’s new book, Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy, has been published by Merril Press.
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