back to article Russian spies dumped in Vienna after swap

Russia and the US exchanged 14 agents at Vienna Airport in the biggest spy exchange since the end of the Cold War. The 10 Russians, members of the illegals network, including Anna Chapman, were deported from America after pleading guilty to acting as agents for Moscow. Money laundering charges were dropped. An eleventh suspect …

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Joke

"fete fatale"

Or fête fatale, perhaps. Sounds like the kind of party James Bond gets invited to.

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Coat

the fete fatale of the whole saga.

Fete worse than death?

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Happy

La fête fatale?

I'd submit that Anna might be better characterised as la femme fatale, although the whole saga might legitimately be described as une fête fatale. (Not 'a fete worse than death', mind, as that's strictly reserved for church fetes.)

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Anonymous Coward

"fete fatale", eh?

First, it draws you in with promises of scones with home-made jam and cream, then asks you to make just a small contribution to the church tower fund, before teasing you into buying ten tickets for the tombola. You're caught in its spell, and buy another ten, little knowing that no, you will not win the top prize of a huge jar of honey, and that little stuffed dog you will win instead has already been quite severely chewed by the vicar's Jack Russell...

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: "fete fatale", eh?

Slip of the brain on reporter's part...now corrected.

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Muphry's law?

After Lester's spell checker article earlier today?

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Alert

Maybe the old bear just needed some publicity

Since the dismantling of the infamous Iron Curtain, we who live and work both in the states and outside of NASA* have hardly ever heard from or about the Russian Federation - granted, excluding so-many punters' attempts at making some mail-order bride magic happen.

Perhaps the incident could serve, somehow, to lend some positive public attention about Russia. Is she so isolationist that she would not want the attention? I hope not. Russia is a nation with her own independent culture. It seems to me that we've all not been the best of friends, recently - the Russian Federation government and the States, at least - though I believe it would do us both well, to resolve that. Is the torch of diplomacy not still burning, in some quarters?

* Grand-daddy of the International Space Station and her also-Russia-supported / also-Russian-members international crew, is it not?

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fete fatal?

Step right up to the tombola of doom!

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Silver badge

Does not compute

"The group were ordered to infiltrate policy-making circles and gather intelligence."

Right, so you wait for years for a bunch of characters (some of them of decidedly leftist radical leaning) with Western names and Eastern accents to make some friends in the Washington political circles when hiring a firm of lobbyists would have opened a lot of doors for you in just a few weeks (and for less money probably)?

It all looks to me like a scheme to provide a few relatives of some high placed Russian diplomats or FSB people with an excuse to live comfortably in the US at the Russian taxpayer's account...

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Flame

You are mostly correct

I would not be so sure about the accent.

Most diplomat kids I know can speak English absolutely flawlessly. In fact you are more likely to pick them out by the fact that they use the correct grammar (which no sane Brit or yank knows) than by accent.

Ditto for graduates from a couple of the better English schools in Moscow and St Petersburgh like for example No 80 in Moscow. Shovelling 8h of English per week down the throat of year 2 in primary school followed by 8h a week every year for 9 more years as well as all subjects (Math, Physics, Bio, etc) in English can go a very long way.

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Silver badge

Accents

Only mentioned the accents after seeing a BBC piece where a neighbour of some of the "spies" actually said he always thought they were some kind of foreigners, judging by their accents...

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Thumb Up

I will offer

to debrief anna chapman

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Alert

Plausible reasons

The Russian operation accomplished US dedicating some of its intelligence-gathering assets (agents, other resources) which otherwise might have found more serious threats (Russian or otherwise), providing cover through misdirection. The operation also provided results from which Russia can evaluate US methods and achieve better success with remaining and new implants.

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Bronze badge

In related news ...

Rocky and Bullwinkle can finally retire.

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Gold badge
Happy

Wonder if this plot idea was ever done

I had it back when there was a Soviet Union but I suspect it would still work now.

I pictured some cube rat in the Finance section of the department dealing with illegals. He sets up new accounts for them, makes sure their pay goes on time etc.

One day he gets to thinking "What if I added an agent or two. Let the salaries pile up then bring them home." Little by little he puts the plan together, works out ways round the security (getting his boss to sign off the paperwork etc) and put's it into effect.

Finally it's running like clockwork. He's not a greedy man and he's just about ready to shut it down and have the money disappear when he's called to equivalent of Internal Affairs.

The officer from IA has put it together. He's looking at a bullet to the head and an unmarked grave.

OTOH says the officer, we could just double the number of your illegals.

The End.

The End.

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FAIL

As far as I can tell

the average American (bar survey) knows more about the football (soccer) world cup than this spy story stuff . Now if the spy's were Mexican it may of been a different story..........

100F right now and I'm drinking cheap beer @55 cents a 12oz can at home with the air con set at at a chilly 77F.]

Ok that's the east coast spy's found where is the West coast mob?

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dux
Pint

55 cent beer

tell me it isn't true!

you might be better off buying real beer and watering it down with some ice and everclear to get the same effect

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Troll

56.3 cents inc tax and CRV.....

5.9 % ABV for a American beer its not too bad. Natural ICE for cheapness its not to bad.

Still think we are missing some spies though

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Alien

No spies here

The FBI were unable to get any evidence of espionage despite tracking the group for 10 years. The best they're able to get them on is being an "unregistered agent of a foreign country" and, of course, being in the country illegally.

There are lots of Russian immigrants in the US (there's quite a few in the UK, I hear). Any or all of them could be sending information back to friends and relatives in the old country. I'm at a loss to figure out what made the difference here; it was possibly that they suckered the Russian government into keeping paying them (despite producing zilch).

Vladimir's theory (above) suggesting that its a scam to allow the offspring of well placed Russians to live well in the west on the Russian taxpayer's dime sounds credible. I can't imagine what kind of investigation into this is going on in the FSB at the moment, I've love to be a fly on the wall, because I suspect its only the tip of an iceberg.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes yes, but why?

I get the impression the whole rigamole was whipped up just so there could be a "spy exchange" at all. And why would that then be? Even one of the purported American spies in Russia claims to not be a spy at all and to not want to go to the land of the free and the brave.

As conspiracy theories go, this one is mainly confusing.

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Heart

I heard

That Anna Chapman has a British Passport and might have to be locked up in Blightly! Any offers? (Prisons overcrowded)........

Aww ok I'll do it then, wonder If I can get some kind of grant??? (To buy her flowers chocolates and very soft cuffs!)

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WTF?

Did I miss something?

Since when has been illegal to change your MACADDR ???

Either this statement is incomplete or...

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