Agent Anna's British links: Russian seized in FBI swoop spent five years living in London

  • 'Femme fatale' of spy plot claimed she worked at Barclays
  • First pictures of other accused spies emerge
  • Shocked neighbours tell of quiet life in suburbia for bumbling agents
  • Angry Moscow demands explanation as Putin calls police 'out of control'
  • Obama's silence amid claims he knew about plot during 'burger summit'
  • But State Department downplays Cold War-style tensions
Spy in the capital? Anna Chapman in London
Spy in the capital? Anna Chapman, pictured here outside Westminster in London, has been arrested in the U.S. after the FBI claimed she was a Russian agent spying on America
Posing for a series of photos, this is the woman at the centre of the alleged Russian spy network uncovered in the U.S.
In one, Anna Chapman - the name she gave investigators - smiles coyly at the camera wearing a shiny green tracksuit top and black-and-white striped T-shirt as she poses in front of Big Ben.
The 28-year-old redhead apparently lived and worked in London for five years before allegedly becoming part of a spy ring based in the States which sent secrets back to the Kremlin.
The picture is thought to have been taken during her stay in the UK. It is unknown if she was engaged in espionage at that stage.
Miss Chapman is emerging as the femme fatal of the James Bond-style plot which saw ' sleepers' embedded in American cities, some more than a decade ago.
And she appears every inch the part, using her charm, beauty and high-society connections to move with ease through the circles of power and use other people to find out state secrets.
She is understood to have a masters degree in economics, an expensive flat in the financial district of New York, and runs a successful international online estate agency, a job which would have given her an excuse to make contact with people around the globe.
She is fluent in Russian and English and conversational in German and French.
On her Facebook page are a series of photos which show off her model-like figure. With 187 friends all over the world, she writes that her motto is: 'If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.'
Last night Russia admitted some of the accused were Russian citizens, but insisted they were not working to harm U.S. interests.
And Miss Chapman's tearful mother Irina, 51, said in Moscow: 'Of course I deny that my daughter is a spy. It's all very shocking to us.'
If records are correct then Miss Chapman was born in Soviet times in what is now the Kharkov region of Ukraine and seems to have been raised in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, in southern Russia.
She studied at the Economics Department of the University of People's Friendship in Moscow, an institution with longstanding links to the old KGB.
Miss Chapman has strong links to Britain and it is thought she was married to a British citizen. She appears to have been here for up to five years from 2003. 
She said she worked at Barclays as what she called 'a slave' in their investment banking division before joining hedge fund Navigator Asset Management Advisers in Mayfair.
She also worked for a luxury flight service NetJets Europe, a company from which the rich and famous buy flying time in executive aircraft.
A former colleague at Navigator said yesterday: 'I always wondered how a Russian would have a last name like Chapman and I thought she may have married a European.'
In disguise: Vicky Pelaez, editorial writer at El Diario La Prensa during a Halloween Party. She is also accused of being a spy
Russian spy at the White House? Accused Mikhail Semenko is pictured left. Right, his co-accused Vicky Pelaez, at a Halloween party. Both images are undated
Anna Chapman
Anna Chapman
Posing: Miss Chapman pictured in London, left, and an image posted on her Facebook page, right. She is believed to have attempted to gain access to American secrets by moving through high New York society
Barclays has no record of an Anna Chapman working in its investment side at the time she claims to have been there in 2004 and 2005.
It appears that she returned to Russia to work for asset managers before moving to America to further her own estate agency company, which organises rentals and sales around the world.
Miss Chapman had been making a name for herself as a socialite in Manhattan before her arrest. It was a very different picture from that painted in Manhattan's Federal Court, where she was accused of being a 'practised deceiver'.
Miss Chapman was accused of meeting an official from the Russian government and passing secrets to him every Wednesday since January.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz told the court that Miss Chapman was an 'extraordinary agent for Russia'.
Those charged alongside her include 'Richard Murphy' and ' Cynthia Murphy', of Montclair, New Jersey, and Vicky Pelaez and a man known as 'Juan Lazaro', of Yonkers, New York state.
Another three - Mikhail Semenko and a couple known as 'Michael Zottoli' and 'Patricia Mills' - appeared in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, after being arrested in Arlington, Virginia.
Two more - a couple known as 'Donald Howard Heathfield' and 'Tracey Lee Ann Foley' - were arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.

Finally, Christopher Metsos - named as the mastermind of the operation - was arrested yesterday at Cyprus's Larnaca airport as he tried to leave the island for Budapest.
Anna's world tour: The accused spy also has photographs of herself posted on Russian networking site 'Odnoklassniki', or Classmates, showing herself in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York, as well as various places in Moscow

One of the captions on the Moscow photos reads: 'My favourite place on earth, my native capital'
Tracey Lee Ann Foley, who was posing as a naturalised U.S. citizen born in Canada, is believed to have been given forged British documents by her Russian handlers.
She used them to travel to and from Moscow with greater ease, the FBI has claimed. The Foreign Office said today it was investigating the claim.
If true, it will undo some of the work that Prime Minister David Cameron did during the recent G8 and G20 summits to improve relations with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.
The arrests are already likely to cause huge diplomatic embarrassment and chill relations between Mr Medvedv and U.S. President Barack Obama at a time when they had been thawing.
Yesterday Mr Obama refused to answer questions over the arrests.
Last night the White House admitted that during last week's 'burger summit' with Mr Medvedev - when the two presidents were pictured sharing a friendly meal together at a fast food restaurant in America - Mr Obama had known the FBI were closing in on an alleged Russian spy ring.
So much for the friendly chats over burgers: Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama in a cordial photo op at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia, last week - before news of the arrests broke
I'm watching you: The now-infamous image from the 'burger summit' last week showing Presidents Obama and Medvedev sharing a fast food meal at a U.S. restaurant. Last night it was claimed that at the time Mr Obama knew the FBI was closing in on an alleged Russian spy ring - but chose to say nothing
But Mr Obama kept the knowledge to himself as he and Mr Medvedev shared an order of French fries.
Meanwhile Russian premier Vladimir Putin - himself a former KGB hardman - told former U.S. President Bill Clinton that American police had been 'out of control'.
However he quickly added that he hoped the case would not damage recent gains made in U.S.-Russia relations.
Miss Foley is believed to be in her 40s and the mother of two teenage sons. Her husband Donald Heathfield is also accused of being a Russian agent.
He was posing as a Canadian citizen, living with Foley in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Harvard University is located. The pair have lived in the U.S. since 1999.
Miss Foley, Mr Heathfield, and their nine co-accused allegedly used invisible ink, short-wave radios, steganography and wi-fi in cafés to pass coded messages back to Russia - including information on nuclear weapons.
Some of them are believed to have been operating for more than a decade.
Accused: L-R, Anna Chapman, Vicky Pelaez, the defendant known as 'Richard Murphy', the defendant known as 'Cynthia Murphy', and the defendant known as 'Juan Lazaro' are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York last night
Accused: L-R, Anna Chapman, Vicky Pelaez, the defendant known as 'Richard Murphy', the defendant known as 'Cynthia Murphy', and the defendant known as 'Juan Lazaro' are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York last night
Miss Chapman is being held without bail after prosecutors called her a 'highly trained agent' and a 'practised deceiver'.
Miss Chapman is believed to have used her high-profile connections to pass American secrets on to a Russian government official every Wednesday since January.
On Saturday, an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian agent met with Chapman at a restaurant in New York.
The agent was pretending to send the alleged spy on a mission to deliver a fake passport to another female agent, according to court documents.
'Are you ready for this step?' he asked.
'S*** yes,' was her emphatic reply.
She was told that her fellow spy would greet her by asking: 'Haven't we met in California last summer?'
Miss Chapman - who agents believe was operating under her real name - was supposed to reply: 'No, I think it was in the Hamptons.'
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Later that same night? Anna Chapman, wearing the same dress as in the party publicity photo above, pictured on her Facebook page
The 'practised deceiver': Above left, Chapman in a photo from her Facebook page wearing her signature red dress. Above right, the accused spy in a racy pose also taken from her Facebook page

Anna Chapman
The flame-haired femme fatale: Anna Chapman, dressed in in brilliant red, at a party in New York in March. She is accused of being a Russian spy
The flame-haired femme fatale: Anna Chapman, dressed in in brilliant red, at a party in New York in March. She is accused of being a Russian spy

'SHE COULDN'T HAVE BEEN A SPY - LOOK WHAT SHE DID WITH THE HYDRANGEAS'

 They wanted to infiltrate the inner core of American society, so naturally they chose the place that would arose the least suspicion - the suburbs.
The 11 men and women accused of spying for Russia lived apparently ordinary, mundane and even boring lives, neighbours have revealed.
Rather than engage in overt espionage, they spent most of their time tending the garden and making sure their children got to football practice on time.
It all helped create a veneer of respectability that would enable them to become highly 'Americanised', and carry out their secret mission without attracting suspicion.
Their technique was summed up succinctly by one teenager who lived next to 'New Jersey conspirators' Richard and Cynthia Murphy: 'They couldn't have been spies. Look what she did with the hydrangeas.'
Others were stunned when FBI agents turned up on Sunday night and led them away from their Montclair home in handcuffs.
One called them 'suburbia personified,' saying that they had asked people for advice about the local schools.
In the Yonkers area of New York, neighbours were just as shocked when Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez were carted off by police.
'It's so hard to believe - they looked like regular folks,' said neighbour Jonathan Kroll, 39, a school administrator.
The situation was the same in Cambridge, Massachusetts where forty-something couple 'Donald Howard Heathfield' and 'Tracey Lee Ann Foley' were arrested, to the surprise of those who knew them.
'All I knew about them was when I saw them pull in and out of their driveway,' said Vicky Steinitz, 71.
Another added: 'She was a friendly neighbour. She was gorgeous. She was nice. They were European but I didn’t know what kind.'
Once she had handed over the passport, she was to plant a stamp on a wall map to let her handlers know she had succeeded.
But the exchange never took place. The FBI court documents do not explain why.
One of her co-accused, Mikhail Semenko, was similarly set up in Washington by the FBI on the same day.
Unlike Miss Chapman, he did follow through with his delivery.
The FBI also watched Miss Chapman as she sat in a coffee shop in New York and used her lap top to, they claim, communicated with a Russian agent hiding in a mini-van nearby.
And she was once observed going into a Verizon mobile phone shop in Brooklyn to buy a phone using the name 'Irine Kutsov' - giving her address as '99 Fake Street'.
She intended to use the phone for her spying activities, the FBI claimed.
Miss Chapman's lawyer Robert Baum argued that the allegations were exaggerated.

'This is not a case that raises issues of security of the United States,' he said.
The alleged spies have been charged with acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government and with money laundering.
Ten were arrested in the U.S. yesterday and charged in American courts. An 11th man had been on the run - but was arrested by police in Cyprus yesterday morning.
However he was released on bail. Police have not yet explained why.
Among the accused were four couples, including Miss Foley and Mr Heathfield, living quietly in the suburbs of New York and Washington and Boston.
They are believed to have married as part of their cover.
One of the married women, believed to be working under her real name, is Vicky Pelaez, a Peruvian born reporter and editor.
She worked for several years for El Diario/La Prensa, one of the country's best-known Spanish-language newspapers.
She is best known for her opinion columns, which often criticize the U.S. government.
'You were sent to USA for long-term service trip. Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc - all these serve one goal: fulfil your main mission, ie to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in US and send intels (intelligence reports) to C (Moscow Center).'
- The accused spies 'mission statement', as outlined in a message to 'Richard and Cynthia Murphy' from Moscow Center, intercepted and decoded by the FBI
 
Her son, Waldo Mariscal, told the court that his mother was innocent.
'This is a farce,' he said. 'We don't know the other people.'
In January 2000, Miss Pelaez was videotaped meeting with a Russian government official at a public park in Peru, where she received a bag from the official, according to one complaint.
Miss Pelaez and her husband Juan Lazaro discussed plans to pass covert messages with invisible ink to Russian officials during another trip Pelaez took to South America, the court documents also claim.
The FBI said it intercepted a message from Moscow Center, headquarters of Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, to some of the defendants describing their main mission as 'to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in U.S.'
Intercepted messages showed they were asked to learn about a wide range of topics, including nuclear weapons, U.S. arms control positions, Iran, White House rumours, CIA leadership turnover, the last presidential election, Congress and the political parties.
Suburban spies? Neighbours point outside the residence of Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after their arrest
Suburban spies? Neighbours point outside the residence of Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after their arrest
Enlarge   Suburban life: The Montclair, New Jersey house where'Richard Murphy' and 'Cynthia Murphy' were arrested by the FBI on Sunday
Suburban life: The Montclair, New Jersey house where'Richard Murphy' and 'Cynthia Murphy' were arrested by the FBI on Sunday

FROM INVISIBLE INK TO COVERT WI-FI COMMUNICATION: WHAT THE RUSSIAN 'SPIES' ARE ACCUSED OF

According to the complaint, filed by Maria Ricci, a special agent with the Counterintelligence arm of the FBI, the spies:
  • used advanced steganography software to send encrypted messages to each other by hiding them on publicly available websites.
  • used short wave radios and codes to send messages to each other
  • used wi-fi in cafes and bookshops to covertly communicate with Russian agents parked in a van close by
  • used and perfected the 'brush pass', a clandestine way of handing over items as one person passes another, which is known as a 'flash meeting'
  • hoarded up to £50,000 in cash in their homes
  • wrote messages in invisible ink that they sent to Russian agents in South America
  • met an employee of the U.S. government with regards to nuclear weapons research and other high-ranking officials
  • tried to get jobs in firms which gave them access to those who knew state secrets
  • buried information in the ground which could later be picked up by other agents
  • received money from an official associated with the Manhattan-based Permanent Mission to the United States
  • used false documents to travel into and out of the United States and
  • took the identities of dead Americans to help them carry out their mission.
The agents are also said to have been schooled in Morse Code and how to cover their tracks so they left no evidence.
Each of the ten was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Nine of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison.
Two criminal complaints outlining the charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York.
Court papers also described a new high-tech spy-to-spy communications system used by the defendants: short-range wireless communications between laptop computers.
Working on laptops from free public wi-fi, the spies carried out the modern supplement for the old-style dead drop in a remote area, or high-speed burst radio transmission or the hollowed-out nickels used by Cold War-era Russian spies to conceal and deliver microfilm.
But, despite the new technology, there was no lack of Cold War spycraft.
According to the court papers, the alleged agents used invisible ink, stayed in touch with Moscow Centre through coded bursts of data sent by a radio transmitter, used innocent-looking 'brush' encounters to pass messages in public, hid encrypted data in public images and relied on fake identities and false travel documents.
The arrests are already likely to cause huge diplomatic embarrassment and chill relations between Mr Medvedv and U.S. President Barack Obama at a time when they had been thawing.
The two leaders met last week at the White House, and also both attended the G8 and G20 meetings over the weekend in Canada.
Last night Russia admitted that some of those charged were indeeed Russian - but insisted they were not out to harm U.S. interests.
Moscow denounced the arrests as 'baseless' and the claims as 'contradictory' yesterday.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said he will seek an explanation from the U.S. on the allegations.
'They haven't explained to us what this is about,' Lavrov said at a news conference during a visit to Jerusalem yesterday.
'I hope they will.
'The only thing I can say today is that the moment for doing that has been chosen with special elegance.'
Others in the Kremlin suggested the plot was actually an attempt to undermine Mr Obama and his attempts to thaw U.S.-Russia relations.
Many Americans have refused to believe that Russia has changed from the lawless days when the country was run by Russia's spying agency, the KGB.
Their fears have been compounded because former President and now Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former First Chief Directorate of the KGB, still effectively controls the country, despite stepping down from power in 2008.
Intelligence on Mr Obama's foreign policy, particularly toward Russia, appears to have been a top priority by the alleged spy ring.
The plot appears to have been going on since some point in the 1990s.
Most of those arrested had been living under assumed names, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The defendants appeared in court last night.
Should they be convicted of being an agent of a foreign government, they face up to five years in jail, and up to 20 for the money laundering.

The spies' mission was spelled out in one communication sent to two of the defendants: 'Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. - all these serve one goal: fullfil your main mission, i.e to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in US and send intels' to the Moscow Centre', the Kremlin's spy HQ.
Miss Chapman was of particular interest - and not just for her reputation as a beauty.

OLD HABITS DIE HARD: HOW AMERICA NEVER BELIEVED RUSSIA HAD STOPPED SPYING


The astonishing plot and arrests could rival the FBI's famous capture of Soviet Col. Rudolf Abel in 1957 in New York.
Also a deep cover agent, Abel was ultimately swapped to the Soviet Union for downed U-2 spy pilot Francis Gary Powers in 1962.
That was during the Cold War - and since then relations have improved.
Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama shared a cordial visit just last week - even stopping off for a hamburger during an unannounced visit to a diner.
Yet neither side has dropped its guard completely.
According to Washington officials, Russia's covert foreign intelligence operations against America have reached Cold War levels under the watch of Mr Putin, below.
vladimir White House advisers believe that there is no other nation on Earth that is so determined to get intelligence on the U.S., with the possible exception of China.
Defence officials are particularly concerned by the SVR, the latest incarnation of the KGB's intelligence arm, which has a network of undercover agents in America.
Targets include research projects and military equipment in development .
The activities of the SVR are rarely put in the spotlight, but in 2007 a Russian man who posing as a Canadian citizen was caught and deported.
The alleged SVR agent had been living under the name Paul William Hampel and claimed to be a lifeguard and travel consultant, but was thought to be attempting to get information on the aerospace industry in Montreal.
He was held carrying a fake birth certificate, £3,000 in five currencies and several encrypted pre-paid mobile phone cards.
Robert Hanssen
The two most prominent cases involving the SVR in the past decade may have been those of Robert Hanssen, right, the FBI counter-intelligence agent who was convicted of passing along secrets to the agency, and Sergei Tretyakov, deputy head of intelligence at Russia's U.N. mission in 1995-2000.
Tretyakov, who defected in 2000, claimed in a 2008 book that his agents helped the Russian government steal nearly $500 million from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein.
He said he oversaw an operation that helped Saddam's regime manipulate the price of Iraqi oil sold under the program and allowed Russia to skim profits.
One of the Cold War's most famous defectors says Russia may have as many as 50 deep-cover couples spying inside the United States.
Oleg Gordievsky, an ex-deputy head of the KGB in London who defected in 1985, said Mr Medvedev would be aware of the precise numbers of so-called illegal operatives in each target country.
The 71-year-old ex-double agent said Medvedev would know numbers but not necessarily their names. He also claimed the undercover operatives were often too timid to recruit high-ranking agents.
She is believed to have entered the Russian Mission to the United Nations on ten occasions and sent messages to agents via a private wi-fi network.
On other occasions she would sit outside a coffee shop or go inside a book store whilst a van with a Russian agent in it parked up nearby, allowing them to share the same wi-fi.
In a series of 'info tasks', Russia is said to have given the spies assignments.
In one for May and June, they had to 'gather information with regard to the use of the Internet by terrorists, United States policies in Central Asia and Western estimation of Russian foreign policy'.
In spring 2009, the documents say, alleged conspirators, Richard and Cynthia Murphy, who lived in New Jersey, were asked for information about Mr Obama's impending trip to Russia that summer.
They were also asked for the U.S. negotiating position on the START nuclear arms reduction treaty as well as Afghanistan and the approach Washington would take in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear program.
They were also asked to send background on U.S. officials travelling with Mr Obama or involved in foreign policy.
'Try to outline their views and most important Obama's goals (sic) which he expects to achieve during summit in July and how does his team plan to do it (arguments, provisions, means of persuasion to 'lure' (Russia) into cooperation in U.S. interests,' Moscow asked.
Moscow wanted reports 'which should reflect approaches and ideas of' four sub-Cabinet U.S. foreign policy officials.
One intercepted message said Cynthia Murphy, 'had several work-related personal meetings with' a man the court papers describe as a prominent New York-based financier active in politics.
In response, Moscow Centre described the man as a very interesting target and urged the defendants to 'try to build up little by little relations. ...
'Maybe he can provide' Murphy 'with remarks re US foreign policy, 'roumors' about White house internal 'kitchen,' invite her to venues (to major political party HQ in NYC, for instance. ... In short, consider carefully all options in regard' to the financier.
The papers allege the defendants' spying has been going on for years.
One defendant in Massachusetts made contact in 2004 with an unidentified man who worked at a U.S. government research facility.
'He works on issues of strategic planning related to nuclear weapon development,' the defendant's intelligence report said.
The defendant 'had conversations with him about research programs on small yield high penetration nuclear warheads recently authorized by U.S. Congress (nuclear 'bunker-buster' warheads),' according to the report.
One message back to Moscow from the defendants focused on turnover at the top level of the CIA and the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
The information was described as having been received in private conversation with, among others, a former legislative counsel for Congress.
The court papers deleted the name of the counsel.
In the papers, FBI agents said the defendants communicated with alleged Russian agents using mobile wireless transmissions between laptop computers - a new spying method.
They established a short-range wireless network between laptop computers of the agents and sent encrypted messages between the computers while they were close to each other.

The femme fatale, the stay-at-home dad, the top newspaper columnist: Who are the bumbling Russian 'spies'?

Enlarge   Anna Chapman
Anna Chapman
Anna Chapman, 28:
Believed to be using her real name. A beautiful divorcee with a masters' in economics and an online real estate firm who attended high society New York parties, according to reports.
She lived in an apartment in a wealthy area of Manhattan.
She met regularly with Russian officials. FBI agents tried to use that to their advantage by setting up a sting with an agent posing as a Russian handler.
Chapman met with the handler on Saturday - but never followed through on the task given to her. She was arrested in Manhattan.
Mikhail Semenko
Believed to be his real name. Like Chapman, fooled into meeting FBI agents posing as Russian handlers. Unlike Chapman, he actually carried the 'mission' given to him by the FBI agents out.
He was described by friends as being a Mercedes driver in his late-20s who was often heard speaking in Russian to his girlfriend.
He was arrested in Arlington.
The Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque in Larnaca, Cyprus. Metsos was staying in a hotel in Larnaca
The Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque in Larnaca, Cyprus. Metsos was staying in a hotel in Larnaca
Christopher R Metsos, 55:
Arrested in Cyprus this morning attempting to board a flight to Budapest.
Bizarrely, he was then bailed pending an extradition hearing in 30 days. It is highly unusual for Cyprus courts to issue bail for foreign nationals pending extradition.
Not believed to be using his real name. FBI court documents said said Metsos was posing as a Canadian citizen - allowing him to travel freely to New York to meet at least one of the other defendants on numerous occasions.
Metsos has been accused of receiving and making payments to the other members of the group, including getting payments during a brush-pass with a Russian government official who was affiliated with the Russian mission to the United Nations in New York.
The U.S. embassy in Nicosia said it was not aware of the arrest.
Documents Cypriot authorities submitted to court said the Interpol red alert for Metsos was issued on June 26. It said he was thought to have laundered some $40,000.
'He has to appear at a police station once a day and has handed in his travel documents to police,' a police statement said.
Metsos had arrived in Cyprus on June 17 and had been staying alone at a hotel in Larnaca, on the east Mediterranean island's southern coast. His extradition hearing will start on July 29.
Enlarge   Suburban life: The Montclair, New Jersey house where'Richard Murphy' and 'Cynthia Murphy' were arrested by the FBI on Sunday
Suburban life: The Montclair, New Jersey house where'Richard Murphy' and 'Cynthia Murphy' were arrested by the FBI on Sunday
'The New Jersey Conspirators': Richard and Cynthia Murphy
The pair - believed to have married as part of their cover - have lived in the U.S. since the mid-1990s.
Richard Murphy is posing as a U.S. citizen born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is believed to have travelled on a forged Irish passport.
His wife Cynthia is also posing as an American born as Cynthia Hopkins in New York City.
The couple lived in Hoboken, New Jersey. Since 2008 they have lived in a house in Montclair, New Jersey.
They are believed to have children. A neighbour, Louise Shallcross, 44, said she often saw Richard Murphy at the school bus stop.
'We were all very excited to have a stay-at-home dad move in,' she said.
Another neighbour told the New York Times: 'They couldn’t have been spies. Look what she did with the hydrangeas.'
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near where Foley and Heathfield lived
Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near where Foley and Heathfield lived
'The Boston Conspirators': Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley
Donald Heathfield, posing as a Canadian citizen, is married to Tracey Lee Ann Foley, posing as a naturalised U.S. citizen born in Canada.
Tracy Lee Ann Foley is believed to have used a British passport for trips back and forth from Moscow.
The pair, believed to be in their 40s and with two teenage sons, have lived in the U.S. since 1999. Court documents said that until this month they had lived long-term in a Boston townhouse. Now they live near Boston, in the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
'The Yonkers Conspirators': Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez
Vicky Pelaez - believed to be her real name - is a United States citizen born in Peru. She is a reporter and editor.
She worked for several years for El Diario/La Prensa, one of the country's best-known Spanish-language newspapers.
She is best known for her opinion columns, which often criticize the U.S. government.
She has a son, Waldo Mariscal.
She is married to Juan Lazaro, posing as a citizen of Peru born in Uruguay.
The couple have each lived in the U.S. for over 20 years.
Graves at Arlington National Cemetery, where America honours its war dead, near where Zottoli and Mills lived
Graves at Arlington National Cemetery, where America honours its war dead, near where Zottoli and Mills lived
'The Seattle Conspirators': Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills
Michael Zottoli is posing as a U.S. citizen born in Yonkers, New York.
He is married to Patricia Mills, who was posing as a Canadian citizen.
The couple have lived together over the years in a number of locations, including an apartment in Seattle, Washington.
In October, 2009, they moved to Arlington, Virginia.
Zottoli has lived in the U.S. since 2001, and Mills since 2003.
In Arlington, where Zottoli and Mills lived in a ninth-floor apartment, next-door neighbor Celest Allred said her guess had been that 'they were Russian, because they had Russian accents'.
They were arrested at home.
See video here



 
READ MORE - Agent Anna's British links: Russian seized in FBI swoop spent five years living in London

Red-headed femme fatale among 11 'Russian deep cover agents' accused of Cold War-style plot to spy on America

  • The British connection: One of the accused 'used UK passport to travel'
  • Man believed to be 11th spy nabbed today in Cyprus - then released on bail
  • Accused allegedly used invisible ink and steganography
  • Eight of the suspects were married couples - at least one with a child
  • Plot 'has been in place since the 1990s'
  • Russia questions timing of 'Cold War-era arrests'
The flame-haired femme fatale: Anna Chapman, dressed in in brilliant red, at a party in New York in March. She is accused of being a Russian spy
The flame-haired femme fatale: Anna Chapman, dressed in in brilliant red, at a party in New York in March. She is accused of being a Russian spy
A red-headed femme fatale is among eleven people arrested by the FBI and accused of spying for Russia in an extraordinary Cold War-style espionage plot.
Anna Chapman, believed to be a 28-year-old divorcee with a masters' degree in economics and her own online real-estate business, is being held without bail after prosecutors called her a 'highly trained agent' and a 'practised deceiver'.
Chapman is believed to have used her high-profile connections to pass American secrets on to a Russian government official every Wednesday since January.
She and her nine co-accused allegedly used invisible ink, short-wave radios, steganography and wi-fi in cafés to pass coded messages back to Russia - including information on nuclear weapons.
Some of them are believed to have been operating for more than a decade.
On Saturday, an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian agent met with Chapman at a restaurant in New York.
The agent was pretending to send the alleged spy on a mission to deliver a fake passport to another female agent, according to court documents.
'Are you ready for this step?' he asked.
'S*** yes,' was her emphatic reply.
She was told that her fellow spy would greet her by asking: 'Haven't we met in California last summer?'
Chapman - who agents believe was operating under her real name - was supposed to reply: 'No, I think it was in the Hamptons.'
Once she had handed over the passport, she was to plant a stamp on a wall map to let her handlers know she had succeeded.
But the exchange never took place. The FBI court documents do not explain why.
One of her co-accused, Mikhail Semenko, was similarly set up in Washington by the FBI on the same day.
Unlike Chapman, he did follow through with his delivery.
The FBI also watched Chapman as she sat in a coffee shop in New York and used her lap top to, they claim, communicated with a Russian agent hiding in a mini-van nearby.
And she was once observed going into a Verizon mobile phone shop in Brooklyn to buy a phone using the name 'Irine Kutsov' - giving her address as '99 Fake Street'.
She intended to use the phone for her spying activities, the FBI claimed.

Later that same night? Anna Chapman, wearing the same dress as in the party publicity photo above, pictured on her Facebook page
The 'practised deceiver': Above left, Chapman in a photo from her Facebook page wearing her signature red dress. Above right, the accused spy in a racy pose also taken from her Facebook page

chapman
'Highly trained agent': Chapman has also posted some less racy images of herself on her Facebook page
Chapman's lawyer Robert Baum argued that the allegations were exaggerated.

'This is not a case that raises issues of security of the United States,' he said.
The alleged spies have been charged with acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government and with money laundering.
Ten were arrested in the U.S. yesterday and charged in American courts. An 11th man had been on the run - but was arrested by police in Cyprus this morning.
However he was released on bail. Police have not yet explained why.
Among the accused were four couples living quietly in the suburbs of New York and Washington and Boston.
They are believed to have married as part of their cover. At least one of the couples has a child together.
Accused: L-R, Anna Chapman, Vicky Pelaez, the defendant known as 'Richard Murphy', the defendant known as 'Cynthia Murphy', and the defendant known as 'Juan Lazaro' are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York last night
Accused: L-R, Anna Chapman, Vicky Pelaez, the defendant known as 'Richard Murphy', the defendant known as 'Cynthia Murphy', and the defendant known as 'Juan Lazaro' are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York last night
One of the married women, believed to be working under her real name, is Vicky Pelaez, a Peruvian born reporter and editor.
She worked for several years for El Diario/La Prensa, one of the country's best-known Spanish-language newspapers.
'You were sent to USA for long-term service trip. Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc - all these serve one goal: fulfil your main mission, ie to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in US and send intels (intelligence reports) to C (Moscow Center).'
- The accused spies 'mission statement', as outlined in a message to 'Richard and Cynthia Murphy' from Moscow Center, intercepted and decoded by the FBI
 
She is best known for her opinion columns, which often criticize the U.S. government.
Her son, Waldo Mariscal, told the court that his mother was innocent.
'This is a farce,' he said. 'We don't know the other people.'
In January 2000, Pelaez was videotaped meeting with a Russian government official at a public park in Peru, where she received a bag from the official, according to one complaint.
Pelaez and her husband Juan Lazaro discussed plans to pass covert messages with invisible ink to Russian officials during another trip Pelaez took to South America, the court documents also claim.
The FBI said it intercepted a message from Moscow Center, headquarters of Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, to some of the defendants describing their main mission as 'to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in U.S.'
Intercepted messages showed they were asked to learn about a wide range of topics, including nuclear weapons, U.S. arms control positions, Iran, White House rumours, CIA leadership turnover, the last presidential election, Congress and the political parties.
Enlarge   Suburban life: The Montclair, New Jersey house where'Richard Murphy' and 'Cynthia Murphy' were arrested by the FBI on Sunday
Suburban life: The Montclair, New Jersey house where'Richard Murphy' and 'Cynthia Murphy' were arrested by the FBI on Sunday
Court papers also described a new high-tech spy-to-spy communications system used by the defendants: short-range wireless communications between laptop computers.
Working on laptops from free public wi-fi, the spies carried out the modern supplement for the old-style dead drop in a remote area, or high-speed burst radio transmission or the hollowed-out nickels used by Cold War-era Russian spies to conceal and deliver microfilm.

FROM INVISIBLE INK TO COVERT WI-FI COMMUNICATION: WHAT THE RUSSIAN 'SPIES' ARE ACCUSED OF

According to the complaint, filed by Maria Ricci, a special agent with the Counterintelligence arm of the FBI, the spies:
  • used advanced steganography software to send encrypted messages to each other by hiding them on publicly available websites.
  • used short wave radios and codes to send messages to each other
  • used wi-fi in cafes and bookshops to covertly communicate with Russian agents parked in a van close by
  • used and perfected the 'brush pass', a clandestine way of handing over items as one person passes another, which is known as a 'flash meeting'
  • hoarded up to £50,000 in cash in their homes
  • wrote messages in invisible ink that they sent to Russian agents in South America
  • met an employee of the U.S. government with regards to nuclear weapons research and other high-ranking officials
  • tried to get jobs in firms which gave them access to those who knew state secrets
  • buried information in the ground which could later be picked up by other agents
  • received money from an official associated with the Manhattan-based Permanent Mission to the United States
  • used false documents to travel into and out of the United States and
  • took the identities of dead Americans to help them carry out their mission.
The agents are also said to have been schooled in Morse Code and how to cover their tracks so they left no evidence.
Each of the ten was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Nine of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison.
Two criminal complaints outlining the charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York.
But, despite the new technology, there was no lack of Cold War spycraft.
According to the court papers, the alleged agents used invisible ink, stayed in touch with Moscow Center through coded bursts of data sent by a radio transmitter, used innocent-looking 'brush' encounters to pass messages in public, hid encrypted data in public images and relied on fake identities and false travel documents - including at least one British passport.
The suspect calling herself Tracy Lee Ann Foley used a British passport to help her travel to Moscow, it was claimed.
If true, that claim will undo some of the work that Prime Minister David Cameron did during the recent G8 and G20 summits to improve relations with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.
The arrests are already likely to cause huge diplomatic embarrassment and chill relations between Mr Medvedv and U.S. President Barack Obama at a time when they had been thawing.
The two leaders met last week at the White House, and also both attended the G8 and G20 meetings over the weekend in Canada.
Russia's embassy said it was unaware of the arrests and is seeking more information. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said he will seek an explanation from the U.S. on the allegations.
'They haven't explained to us what this is about,' Lavrov said at a news conference during a visit to Jerusalem today.
'I hope they will.
'The only thing I can say today is that the moment for doing that has been chosen with special elegance.'
Many Americans have refused to believe that Russia has changed from the lawless days when the country was run by Russia's spying agency, the KGB.
Their fears have been compounded because former President and now Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former First Chief Directorate of the KGB, still effectively controls the country, despite stepping down from power in 2008.
Intelligence on Mr Obama's foreign policy, particularly toward Russia, appears to have been a top priority by the alleged spy ring.
The plot appears to have been going on since some point in the 1990s.
Most of those arrested had been living under assumed names, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Anna Chapman, who was arrested in Manhattan, Mikhail Semenko, arrested in Virginia, and Vicky Pelaez, arrested in New York, were the only three who were believed to be operating under their real names.
'Richard Murphy' and 'Cynthia Murphy' were arrested by FBI agents at their residence in Montclair, New Jersey.
Vicky Pelaez and 'Juan Lazaro' were arrested at their residence in the Yonkers area of New York.
'Michael Zottoli' and 'Patricia Mills' were held at their residence in Arlington, Virginia.
'Donald Howard Heathfield' and 'Tracey Lee Ann Foley' were arrested at their home in Boston.
'Christopher R. Metsos' remains at large.
The defendants appeared in court last night.
Should they be convicted of being an agent of a foreign government, they face up to five years in jail, and up to 20 for the money laundering.

So much for the friendly chats over burgers: Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama in a cordial photo op at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia, last week - before news of the arrests broke
So much for the friendly chats over burgers: Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama in a cordial photo op at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia, last week - before news of the arrests broke
The spies' mission was spelled out in one communication sent to two of the defendants: 'Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. - all these serve one goal: fullfil your main mission, i.e to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and send intels' to the Moscow Centre', the Kremlin's spy HQ.
Anna Chapman was of particular interest - and not just for her reputation as a beauty.
She is believed to have entered the Russian Mission to the United Nations on ten occaisons and sent messages to agents via a private wi-fi network.

OLD HABITS DIE HARD: HOW AMERICA NEVER BELIEVED RUSSIA HAD STOPPED SPYING


The astonishing plot and arrests could rival the FBI's famous capture of Soviet Col. Rudolf Abel in 1957 in New York.
Also a deep cover agent, Abel was ultimately swapped to the Soviet Union for downed U-2 spy pilot Francis Gary Powers in 1962.
That was during the Cold War - and since then relations have improved.
Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama shared a cordial visit just last week - even stopping off for a hamburger during an unannounced visit to a diner.
Yet neither side has dropped its guard completely.
According to Washington officials, Russia's covert foreign intelligence operations against America have reached Cold War levels under the watch of Mr Putin, below.
vladimir White House advisers believe that there is no other nation on Earth that is so determined to get intelligence on the U.S., with the possible exception of China.
Defence officials are particularly concerned by the SVR, the latest incarnation of the KGB's intelligence arm, which has a network of undercover agents in America.
Targets include research projects and military equipment in development .
The activities of the SVR are rarely put in the spotlight, but in 2007 a Russian man who posing as a Canadian citizen was caught and deported.
The alleged SVR agent had been living under the name Paul William Hampel and claimed to be a lifeguard and travel consultant, but was thought to be attempting to get information on the aerospace industry in Montreal.
He was held carrying a fake birth certificate, £3,000 in five currencies and several encrypted pre-paid mobile phone cards.
Robert Hanssen
The two most prominent cases involving the SVR in the past decade may have been those of Robert Hanssen, right, the FBI counter-intelligence agent who was convicted of passing along secrets to the agency, and Sergei Tretyakov, deputy head of intelligence at Russia's U.N. mission in 1995-2000.
Tretyakov, who defected in 2000, claimed in a 2008 book that his agents helped the Russian government steal nearly $500 million from the U.N.'s oil-for-food program in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein.
He said he oversaw an operation that helped Saddam's regime manipulate the price of Iraqi oil sold under the program and allowed Russia to skim profits.
One of the Cold War's most famous defectors says Russia may have as many as 50 deep-cover couples spying inside the United States.
Oleg Gordievsky, an ex-deputy head of the KGB in London who defected in 1985, said Mr Medvedev would be aware of the precise numbers of so-called illegal operatives in each target country.
The 71-year-old ex-double agent said Medvedev would know numbers but not necessarily their names. He also claimed the undercover operatives were often too timid to recruit high-ranking agents.
On other occasions she would sit outside a coffee shop or go inside a book store whilst a van with a Russian agent in it parked up nearby, allowing them to share the same wi-fi.
In a series of 'info tasks', Russia is said to have given the spies assignments.
In one for May and June, they had to 'gather information with regard to the use of the Internet by terrorists, United States policies in Central Asia and Western estimation of Russian foreign policy'.
In spring 2009, the documents say, alleged conspirators, Richard and Cynthia Murphy, who lived in New Jersey, were asked for information about Mr Obama's impending trip to Russia that summer.
They were also asked for the U.S. negotiating position on the START nuclear arms reduction treaty as well as Afghanistan and the approach Washington would take in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear program.
They were also asked to send background on U.S. officials travelling with Mr Obama or involved in foreign policy.
'Try to outline their views and most important Obama's goals (sic) which he expects to achieve during summit in July and how does his team plan to do it (arguments, provisions, means of persuasion to 'lure' (Russia) into cooperation in U.S. interests,' Moscow asked.
Moscow wanted reports 'which should reflect approaches and ideas of' four sub-Cabinet U.S. foreign policy officials.
One intercepted message said Cynthia Murphy, 'had several work-related personal meetings with' a man the court papers describe as a prominent New York-based financier active in politics.
In response, Moscow Center described the man as a very interesting target and urged the defendants to 'try to build up little by little relations. ...
'Maybe he can provide' Murphy 'with remarks re US foreign policy, 'roumors' about White house internal 'kitchen,' invite her to venues (to major political party HQ in NYC, for instance. ... In short, consider carefully all options in regard' to the financier.
The papers allege the defendants' spying has been going on for years.
One defendant in Massachusetts made contact in 2004 with an unidentified man who worked at a U.S. government research facility.
'He works on issues of strategic planning related to nuclear weapon development,' the defendant's intelligence report said.
The defendant 'had conversations with him about research programs on small yield high penetration nuclear warheads recently authorized by U.S. Congress (nuclear 'bunker-buster' warheads),' according to the report.
One message back to Moscow from the defendants focused on turnover at the top level of the CIA and the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
The information was described as having been received in private conversation with, among others, a former legislative counsel for Congress.
The court papers deleted the name of the counsel.
In the papers, FBI agents said the defendants communicated with alleged Russian agents using mobile wireless transmissions between laptop computers - a new spying method.
They established a short-range wireless network between laptop computers of the agents and sent encrypted messages between the computers while they were close to each other.
READ MORE - Red-headed femme fatale among 11 'Russian deep cover agents' accused of Cold War-style plot to spy on America

Ohio 6-Year-Old Turns Up on Terror Watch List

The father of a 6-year-old Ohio girl who turned up on the U.S. government's terror watch list says the worst thing his daughter has ever done is probably been mean to her sister.

But Santhosh Thomas, a doctor from Westlake, Ohio, says he's sure that's not enough to land his 6-year-old Alyssa on the no-fly list of suspected terrorists. "She may have threatened her sister, but I don't think that constitutes Homeland Security triggers," he told CNN.

An airline ticket agent informed the family of their predicament when they embarked on recent trip from Cleveland to Minneapolis. "They said, 'Well, she's on the list.' We're like, okay, what's the story? What do we have to do to get off the list? This isn't exactly the list we want to be on," Thomas said.

The Thomases were allowed to fly that day, but authorities told them to contact the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to clear up the matter. Now they've received a letter from the government addressed to 6-year-old Alyssa, telling her that nothing in her file will be changed.

Federal authorities have acknowledged that such a no-fly list exists, but as a matter of national security, they won't comment on whose names are on it nor why. "The watch lists are an important layer of security to prevent individuals with known or suspected ties to terrorism from flying," an unnamed spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration told Fox News.

"She's been flying since she was two-months old, so that has not been an issue," Alyssa's dad said. "In fact, we had traveled to Mexico in February and there were no issues at that time."

That's likely because of a recent change by the Transportation Security Administration, which used to check only international passengers' names against the no-fly list, but since earlier this month has been checking domestic passengers as well.

The Thomases told CNN they plan on appealing Alyssa's status to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security again, and will be sure to leave plenty of extra time for check-in the next time they fly.
READ MORE - Ohio 6-Year-Old Turns Up on Terror Watch List

10 arrested in US on charges of spying for Russia

NEW YORK: The United States cracked wide open on Monday a Russian spy ring, announcing the arrest of 10 "deep-cover" suspects after unraveling a Cold War-era mission secretly monitored by the FBI for more than a decade.

An 11th suspect remained at large as US authorities busted a network of sleeper agents whose mission had allegedly been to secretly penetrate American policy-making circles and report back to spymasters in Moscow.

"You were sent to USA for long-term service trip," read a mission message from Moscow Center, the headquarters of Russia's SVR foreign intelligence service, a successor to the Cold War KGB.

"Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. -- all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e. to search and develop ties in policy-making circles in US and send intel to C (Moscow Center)."

The arrests on Sunday in three northeastern US states came only three days after US President Barack Obama described his visiting Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev as a "solid and reliable partner" at a cosy White House summit.

The charge sheet unveiled by the Justice Department read like the synopsis of a John Le Carre spy thriller with encrypted messages, false identities, buried money and hidden video cameras in hotel rooms.

The lengths the suspects -- apparently most of them originally Russian citizens -- went to were staggering, using false identities to manufacture the trappings of ordinary American lives to blend unnoticed into society.

One pretended to be Richard Murphy from Philadelphia, while another purported to be Tracy Lee Ann Foley, a native of Canada but a naturalized US citizen, the complaint said.

"The FBI's investigation has revealed that a network of illegals is now living and operating in the United States in the service of one primary, long-term goal: to become sufficiently 'Americanized' such that they can gather information about the United States for Russia, and can successfully recruit sources who are in, or are able to infiltrate, United States policy-making circles," the charge sheet said.

"These Russian secret agents work to hide all connections between themselves and Russia, even as they act at the direction and under the control of the SVR."

The 11 were charged in two separate criminal complaints with spying for the SVR, eight of them allegedly on "deep-cover assignments." Nine also faced charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The arrests were made in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and in northern Virginia, just outside the US capital Washington.

The complaint detailed "secret communications methods" used by the alleged spies to communicate with Moscow Center, including secreting data in images on public websites and coded "radiograms" set at special frequencies.

For more than 10 years the FBI gathered information by covertly placing microphones at the homes of the suspects, and in hotel rooms, and by monitoring and recording their phone calls and emails.

A key suspect, named as Christopher Metsos, was under surveillance in Queens in New York in May 2004 when he received a bag containing money from an official associated with Russia's UN mission, the complaint alleges.

Metsos had four meetings with another defendant, Richard Murphy, at a restaurant in Sunnyside, New York -- all were secretly recorded by FBI audio and visual surveillance teams.

Another two suspects were followed in June 2006 to Wurstboro, New York, where they dug up a package of money buried there by Metsos.

Despite the cloak-and-dagger nature of the revelations, the mission of the suspected spies appears to have been more mundane: to infiltrate US policy-making circles.

One message asked for "info on current international affairs" that was vital for Russia. "Try to single out tidbits unknown publicly but revealed in private by sources close to State Department, government, major think tanks," it said.

Other requests included information on the latest US policy on Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear program, and a new weapons treaty between US and Russia.

There was no immediate response from the White House to queries about the arrests or their possible impact on efforts to "reset" the vital US-Russia relationship.

Obama had quipped on Thursday that it was time to cut off Cold War-era emergency hotlines at a cordial Washington summit with Medvedev.

He even praised Medvedev as a "solid and reliable partner" and added, "we listen to one another and we speak candidly."

The 10 were to be appear later on Monday for their arraignment at a courtroom in New York.

The charges of acting as an agent of a foreign government carry a maximum of five years in prison, while the conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars.
READ MORE - 10 arrested in US on charges of spying for Russia

Stanley McChrystal Retiring From The Army After Firing By Obama

Mcchrystal Retiring
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was fired from his job last week as top U.S. general in Afghanistan, has told the Army that he plans to retire altogether.


WASHINGTON
— Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was fired last week as the top U.S. general in the stalemated Afghanistan war, told the Army on Monday that he will retire.

Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins said McChrystal, 55, notified the service of his plans. The general submitted formal retirement papers, but it is not clear when he will leave the service because the process usually take a few months.

In announcing McChrystal's ouster on Wednesday, President Barack Obama praised his long Army career but said his intemperate remarks in a magazine article that appeared last week could not be abided.

McChrystal apologized for the remarks in Rolling Stone magazine and flew to Washington last week to resign as commanding general of the war.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said Monday he backed Obama's decision to remove McChrystal because the "cumulative representation" of the magazine article revealed "poor judgment that included a bad command climate" that tolerated harsh criticism of the U.S. civilian leadership.

Speaking in Colorado at the Aspen Forum, Mullen said military leaders must always be mindful that they serve elected leaders. "We must ensure that we are adhering to that in every way – publicly, privately, formally, informally," he said. "To the degree that we tolerate it even in private discussions, it's corrosive."

The Army has been McChrystal's only career. He was promoted to the selective and coveted rank of four-star general last year. It is not clear whether McChrystal will be able to retain that rank in retirement. Under Army rules, generals need to serve three years as a four-star officer to retain that rank, with its prestige and retirement benefits.

The secretary of the Army can allow officers with as little as two years of service to keep their retirement rank, Collins said.

Three military and defense officials in Washington said Obama may use his power as commander in chief to allow McChrystal to keep all four stars. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter.

McChrystal was the Pentagon's choice to run the war following a year of Taliban advances in 2008 and early 2009. He replaced Gen. David McKiernan, also a four-star Army general, after McKiernan was fired for failing to apply the counterinsurgency strategy McChrystal represented. McKiernan retired from the Army almost immediately.

The Senate Armed Service Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Tuesday for Gen. David Petraeus, nominated to succeed McChrystal as the top U.S. and NATO general in Kabul.
READ MORE - Stanley McChrystal Retiring From The Army After Firing By Obama

McChrystal's Rolling Stone Interview And The Most Telling Afghan War Quotes

When Rolling Stone's profile of Stanley McChrystal was published this week, it took down a general who had managed to retain his post as the most senior military commander in Afghanistan despite previous failings and personnel issues.
McChrystal's views about his commander, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden received the most media attention. But insightful quotes by McChrystal and his staff about the actual war in Afghanistan were also part of freelance reporter Michael Hasting's story.
Rethink Afghanistan has compiled some of the most attention-grabbing quotes about the nine-year war.
WATCH:
READ MORE - McChrystal's Rolling Stone Interview And The Most Telling Afghan War Quotes

Ofek-9: Israel Launches New Spy Satellite

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/177335/thumbs/s-ISRAEL-SPY-SATELLITE-large.jpgJERUSALEM — Israel launched a spy satellite called "Ofek 9" late Tuesday, Israel's Defense Ministry and officials said, increasing Israel's capacity to keep an eye on enemies like Iran.

The Defense Ministry issued a statement saying the satellite was launched late Tuesday from the Palmachim air force base on Israel's coast south of Tel Aviv. An hour later, after the satellite completed its first circuit, the ministry said it had achieved its proper orbit, describing it as "a surveillance satellite with advanced technological capabilities."

Defense officials said Ofek 9 is a spy satellite with a high resolution camera. It would join two other active spy satellites in the Ofek series already orbiting the earth. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because details were not made public, said the three satellites would give Israel considerable coverage of sensitive areas.

Addition of a new satellite gives Israel the capability of sending space-borne cameras over sensitive areas more frequently. One of Israel's main targets for spy photos is Iran, because of its nuclear program.

Israel considers Iran to be a strategic threat, charging that its nuclear program is meant for developing bombs, despite Iranian denials. Also, Iran has tested missiles that can reach Israel, and its leaders frequently refer to Israel's destruction.

Israel is also thought to be targeting Syria with its satellites. In 2007, warplanes struck a site in Syria thought to be a nuclear facility under construction. Israel has not commented, but it was widely reported that the attacking aircraft were Israeli.

Defense officials said that with each successive Israeli satellite, cameras are more advanced and offer higher resolution. They said the camera aboard Ofek 9 was made by Elbit, a leading Israeli high-tech optics firm. They said the camera could pick out missiles and launchers on the ground.

Isaac Ben-Israel, a former head of the Israeli space agency, told Israel Radio that the new satellite weighs about 650 pounds (300 kilograms), small in comparison to American spy satellites. He said it would take another two or three days before it could be determined if its camera was working properly. So far, he said, Israel has not had problems with cameras aboard its satellites.

In 2008, an Israeli spy satellite launched from India took aloft an advanced radar system that would allow photography in all weather conditions and at night.

Besides its spy satellites, Israel also has a number of communications satellites in orbit.
READ MORE - Ofek-9: Israel Launches New Spy Satellite

Al-Qaida Kills 11 In Ambush At Yemen Security Complex, Frees Detainees

Yemen
lack smoke is seen coming from the intelligence services building that came under attack in the southern port city of Aden, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of the capital, San'a, in Yemen Saturday, June 19, 2010. Four suspected al-Qaida gunmen blasted their way into the intelligence headquarters in Yemen's second largest city Saturday and freed several detainees in the group's most spectacular operation since a U.S.-backed government crackdown began late last year. (AP)

SAN'A, Yemen
— Four suspected al-Qaida gunmen blasted their way into the intelligence headquarters of Yemen's second largest city Saturday and freed several detainees in the group's most spectacular operation since a U.S.-backed government crackdown began late last year.

The attack on the heavily protected security complex killed 11 and further bolstered U.S. concerns that Yemen's weak central government may not be up to tackling an increasingly effective foe seemingly able to strike anywhere inside or outside the country.

"We were hit where we least expected it," Yemeni Information Minister Hassan al-Lozy told the Al-Arabiya news channel. "This is a serious escalation from these terrorist elements."

U.S. officials say insurgents, including Americans, are training in militant camps in Yemen's vast lawless spaces and allying with powerful tribes opposed to the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Those concerns deepened last December, when al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner.

In the wake of the Christmas attack, with U.S. aid, training and intelligence, Yemen's military and air force have struck repeatedly at al-Qaida sites and suspected hideouts, and arrested several suspects.

In a statement, the Yemeni government said the attacks bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida and resulted in the death of seven members of the security forces, three women and a child in the southern port city of Aden, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of the capital.

The fact that one of the most important security institutions in the country's second largest city could be attacked reflects the state's weakness, said analyst Mansour Hael, hinting that the attackers must have had inside help.

"The question to ask is how these attackers were able to infiltrate such a fortified security area. This raises a number of suspicions," he said.
Story continues below

The headquarters of the powerful intelligence agency is located in an upscale neighborhood of government offices overlooking the sea, flanked by the state television building and a branch of the Transport Ministry.

It was the same facility that 10 prisoners broke out of in 2003, including one involved in the plot to blow up the USS Cole in 2000, that killed 17 American sailors.

An eyewitness said the gunmen in military uniforms approached the building after parking their old sedan and a microbus at the nearby historic Crescent Hotel. The witness, who works in the building but was outside at the time of the attack, said the gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and threw hand grenades at the building's entrance before charging inside in a hail of bullets.

In the course of the half hour fire fight, said the witness, a number of the guards threw down their weapons and fled and the attackers managed to escape with several detainees, leaving the building on fire. He spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Yemen's security officials did not comment on whether any detainees were freed, only saying that nine people were injured in the attack and eight others have been detained for their suspected involvement.

There have been several other al-Qaida prison breaks, including a key one in 2006 when 23 top al-Qaida operatives tunneled their way out of a prison and boosted the organization's strength.

In 2009, the organization merged with the Saudi branch of al-Qaida and dramatically increased the pace of its attacks, including an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the British ambassador in April.

The early Saturday attack follows a military campaign in eastern Yemen against suspected al-Qaida hideouts, which prompted the movement to issue a statement on militant websites Friday threatening to "set the ground on fire under the tyrants of infidelity in (President) Saleh's regime and his U.S. collaborators."

An earlier statement by the local branch of al-Qaida also urged its supporters to free the group's members held in prisons around the region.

American worries about Yemen's ability to fight al-Qaida heightened last year after several Yemeni detainees who had been released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, resurfaced as leaders of the al-Qaida offshoot.

In recent months, the U.S. Defense Department approved spending $155 million to help Yemen in its fight, including the purchase of four helicopters to support counterterror operations there.

The money also includes $34.5 million to train and equip the Yemeni special forces and another $38 million for aircraft to allow those forces quicker access to hotspots in the country.

The U.S. State Department has also acknowledged this month that Yemeni authorities are holding 12 Americans in custody, apparently part of al-Qaida's efforts to hit targets in the U.S.
READ MORE - Al-Qaida Kills 11 In Ambush At Yemen Security Complex, Frees Detainees
 
 
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