The only convincing explanation I have heard of the recent USA-Russian Federation espionage scandal, where Russian sleeper agents were living underground in the USA this last decade, deeply embedded in American suburbia, and regularly sending useless (and mostly already-public) information back to Moscow Center is this: That this was an elaborate financial scam with the sleeper agents being children of the KGB nomenklatura, and that embedding them in the USA as “spies” was a way to transfer state funds to them, in hard currency, legally. Of all the explanations I have heard, this is the only one which explains how the operation could have continued so long without people at the Center raising objections to the poor quality and low frequency of the information being transmitted. This explanation also perhaps explains the relatively muted reactions of both administrations – the USA and the RF – over the case: If these people weren’t real spies, Moscow would not be upset at them losing their cover. If Washington also knew that they weren’t real spies, and knew that Moscow believed them not to be real spies, then Washington would not be too upset at learning of their long undercover presence.
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