Agents leave US without a trace

2010-07-10 08:00

kalahari.com

New York - A locked Honda outside a suburban house, a missing column in a New York newspaper - these were among the few traces left on Friday by 10 Russian agents after years of calling the US home.

They lived their lie quietly during a decade as deep cover agents for Moscow, fooling neighbours, colleagues, and in the case of one man maybe even his own spouse.

By Friday they were back in Russia, their expulsion and exchange for four convicted spies in Russia completing the kind of drama unseen since the days of the Cold War.

But even this denouement, reportedly negotiated by the heads of the CIA and the Russian espionage agency, shed little light on who the mysterious agents were or what they had done.

To those who knew them they were unremarkable people who went by names like Richard and Cynthia Murphy, or Donald Heathfield, and fitted right into the American way of life.

In federal court on Thursday where they pleaded guilty to being foreign agents and agreeing to their immediate expulsion, they were finally unmasked.

For example, Heathfield is really Andrey Bezrukov. The Murphys were really Vladimir and Lydia Guryev.

At the Guryevs' former home in the pleasant suburb of Montclair in New Jersey neighbors were baffled.

A Honda Civic car sat parked outside the house, www.nj.com reported. Copies of the Financial Times continued to thump on the doorstep.

"The KGB's paying for it," www.nj.com quoted a neighbour, Connie Jones, joking about the subscription.

Another slender clue to the disappearance of this deeply embedded cell was the absence in the Spanish language New York daily El Diario of a column by veteran journalist Vicky Pelaez.

The Peruvian-American, who admitted on Thursday to delivering letters written in invisible ink, was already in Moscow by Friday, along with her husband Juan Lazaro.

Except he isn't really Juan Lazaro: he's Mikhail Vasenko.

Victim

And according to the Daily News tabloid in New York, that's something Pelaez herself had only just found out.

"What's your name? What's your real name?" the News quoted her lawyer, John Rodriguez, as saying she demanded of Lazaro after their arrest last month.

The report says Pelaez considers herself a victim, duped by her husband and now sent to Russia.

Her lawyer told the court in New York on Thursday that the Russian government has promised her free housing and a lifelong monthly stipend of

$2 000 dollars, as well as visas for her two children.

She would be free to travel wherever she wanted, the lawyer said, meaning she might be able to go to Peru.

Apart from Pelaez, all the others are Russians, some speaking English in thick Russian accents, some having successfully mastered the US accent.

Their futures are unclear - and so, even now, is their past.

US officials have consistently said the spy nest caused no damage.

Under questioning in court on Thursday, the agents admitted only to the most banal activities, such as meeting Russian officials, traveling around the country, and in the case of sultry redhead Anna Chapman using a laptop to send an unspecified message.

But this apparently innocuous history could not be more in contrast with the drama of how it ended.

The swap was seen as resolving a scandal that threatened to disrupt improving US-Russian relations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and his Moscow counterpart, were in charge of the deal.

Once the details were worked out, both countries wasted no time.

The 10 US convicts and four Russian convicts were flown to Vienna, just as in Cold War days, and from there travelled onward to Moscow and the West.

Further underlining the rush to close the door on the episode, the US prosecutor in New York, Preet Bharara, announced Friday that outstanding charges had now been dropped against the 10 deportees.

Read more on:    us  |  russia  |  espionage
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!

Printed sheets of flexible solar cells can mean your electronic devices can soon be charged with the use of renewable energy.

 
 

For chic geeks...

Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents
This lock means keys are something of the past!
7 things you didn't know about Apple

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off new fiction books!

Save 30% on new captivating books from great authors such as Wilbur Smith, James Pettereson and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

As the Moon moves out of restless Gemini into sensitive Cancer today you are able to relax your active mind and be more receptive...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.