Russian Spy Ring Busted in New York

Spy craft seems to have certainly gone downhill after the end of the Cold War. No one appears to take pride in their work anymore.

No longer does the FBI have to contend with criminals like the Walker spy ring or Aldrich Ames, now it has to be ever vigilant for the Illegals Program or the latest trio of inept and frustrated Russians who actually made the bumbling of the Illegals look pretty good.

“More than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, “Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst under cover of secrecy.”

A courtroom sketch of Evgeny Buryakov, arrested in New York as a Russian spy.
A courtroom sketch of Evgeny Buryakov, arrested in New York as a Russian spy.

The FBI arrested Evgeny Buryakov who was posing as an employee in the New York office of a Russian bank but who had actually been recruited as a Russian intelligence officer. His co-conspirators and recruiters, Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy, were protected by diplomatic immunity and both sent back to Russia.

Sporyshev and Podobnyy were under investigation by the FBI from the moment they got to the United States. Their phones and offices were bugged and they were kept under surveillance. They had some early failures at finding intelligence sources, especially with turning women into assets, but eventually were successful with Buryakov.

Well, sort of.

An FBI informant met with the trio and even though it felt “like some sort of set-up” to Sporyshev, he did not stop Buryakov from meeting with the informant, who turned over supposedly classified documents to the banker. The informant was asked to get more documents for Buryakov; those documents were delivered to Sporyshev’s house is the Bronx and the FBI moved in immediately afterwards.

Buryakov is currently in jail awaiting trial.

“These charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said about the charges against Buryakov. “We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country – no matter how deep their cover.”

Spies that get caught or detected early on have little chance to damage the country they are in, as opposed to the Walkers or Ames that conducted operations for years or decades before getting caught. The Illegal Program was picked up quickly and this trio of New York spies was caught even quicker. Thank goodness.

Although inept spies always make for a good story, especially ones that have trouble fitting in with society or complain that their lives aren’t glamorous enough, it does remind us that even with the Cold War almost 25 years in the past, some things never change. The Russians spy on us, we spy on them and the world keeps going round and round.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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