Bail hearing for deep-cover Russian intelligence officers "Tracie Lee Ann Foley" and "Donald Heathfield,"
Recommended watching: The Daily Caller's Ginni Thomas interviews Mike Waller, who, clearly and calmly, analyzes how it was that President Trump's "first 100 days" were, as he puts it, stolen from him by an unprecedented campaign of organized, funded street protest, targeted leaking from intelligence and other "deep state" agencies, a knee-capping congressional investigation, and the like.
As Waller says, yes, for sure, investigate the Trump campaign for "Russian influence" -- but make it a serious investigation of Russian subversion across the board. Such a review would, for example, necessarily include the "Russian influence" case of 2010. Despite "documented Russian espionage penetration of their own political machine in New York," Waller notes, Democrats (and, I would add, Republicans also) had, and continue to have, zero interest in exploring and learning from this absolutely sensational episode.
He refers, of course, to the exposure/expulsion of about a dozen "illegals," deep-cover Russian intelligence agents, who had lived outwardly "normal" lives in America for many years, all the while working for the current version of the KGB (and under FBI surveillance for some time). One of them, Anna Chapman, would parlay her good looks into massive media coverage more befitting the latest James Bond girl, but as Waller, an expert in Kremlin subversion, reminds us, Chapman was a "Russian deep-cover intelligence officer."
What the political arena has never publicly processed is the fact that Vladimir Putin's espionage network had successfully infiltrated New York's Democratic Party machine -- the machine of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. One of the network's agents, Cynthia Murphy, was a financial planner for Alan Patricof, a core financial backer of Bill and Hillary Clinton's political careers; another, reportedly Chapman, had entered Hillary's inner circle. Waller points out that as soon as the network was exposed, then-Secretary of State Clinton worked hard to get those agents out of the country ASAP, circumventing a debriefing and diplomatic process that normally takes months or longer.
If it's Russian influence that Congress wants to investigate, this is hot one. If, however, it's political sabotage of the Trump presidency (not that Trump isn't fully capable of doing that himself), steer clear.
I went back to some of the reporting on this illegals network. In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, FBI counterintelligence official C. Frank Figliuzzi noted that "several" were "getting close to high-ranking officials." Then there was the "illegal" known as Donald Heathfield of Cambridge, Mass.. In 2000, Heathfield graduated from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, which, as the Times notes, "trains many senior government officials." Hmmm. Nice lifelong employment and networking opportunitues for a Russian sleeper-agent, right? Heathfield, the story adds, "purportedly stole the identity of a Canadian infant who had died decades ago..."
What some forget is that such identity theft is common practice for Moscow -- as is the insertion of "illegals" into enemy territory. Indeed, what was always missing in this 2010 story was its connection, not to spy fiction, which most reports gushingly made, but to historical precedent in the century-long intelligence war Moscow has covertly waged againt the USA without let-up, not even -- in fact, especially -- during the World War II period of US-USSR military alliance.
Take the "Donald Heathfield"/Kennedy School case. That was a lot of time and money the Russian government invested in this unmasked Kennedy School graduate -- also nothing new. Then again, why would the Russian government do this?
Let's zoom back a few decades. Writing in 1983, KGB expert John Barron offers a wealth of detail on Soviet "illegal" agenting in a study of two generations of a KGB family known as the Hermanns. Barron writes:
To embed one of its own officers in American society so deeply that he can penetrate the most secret spheres of government, the KGB is willing to wait decades and expend untold resources. No clandestine undertaking is more difficult or more susceptible to failure. Yet the KGB keeps trying, for a single success will far offset myriad failures; there are times when a lone agent or one scrap of intelligence can doom or save an entire nation.
He goes on to paint in minute detail the lives of two KGB creations, Czechs, who marry with KGB approval and set off in the mid-1950s with fake German biographies and aliases: Rudi and Inga Hermann. They head to the West via East Germany, West Germany, Canada, and, finally Hartdale, New York, about 25 miles from Manhattan. There, in the late 1960s, Rudi Hermann became the Illegal Resident for the US. While he always had KGB instructions -- constantly hunt for "progressives"; "penetrate the Hudson Institute," -- his main mission was simply to fit in and be ready. Ready for what? To take charge of the Soviet intelligence network inside the US.
In practice, much of Rudi's own intelligence work was fairly pointless. As a commercial photographer, he once nearly got a gig making a film about vice presidentical candidate Sen. Edmund Muskie; he never found his way into the Hudson Institute. However, he had steady business with IBM. The longer he lived in America, perfecting his "normal" "regular," life, the more valuable he was to the KGB. In 1970, the KGB made him a lieutenant colonel "and he continued to ensconce himself so as to be ready to assume control of the entire Soviet network of agents in the United States, if necessary."
But that's not all. Barron elaborates on why the KGB would consider Rudi-the-Illegal so valuable:
He already had fulfilled his principal mission in the United States; he now was ready and able to take control of the agent networks at any time. He could justify travel on the shortest notice. He had integrated himself so well into American society that had the FBI initiated a background investigation, its agents would have learned from his friends, neighbors and associates, from patriotic exectives at IBM and elsewhere in business, that he was a man of estimable character and ideal citizen, albeit with rather right-wing views.
Rudi had accomplished every reasonable clandestine task assigned. If he could not penetrate the Hudson Institute, he could handle an agent emplaced there -- or anywhere else, even the White House. Given his legend [fake biography] and his age, he could never expect to place himself into any of the most secret areas of America -- yet he knew someone who probably could -- Peter.
One of Rudi and Inga's two sons, Peter, born 1957, was extremely bright and academically gifted.
Long story short -- read it all in KGB Today: The Hidden Hand -- young Peter signs on with the KGB, which will take charge of his education -- both his Marxist indoctrination and his academic work -- first at McGill University in Montreal and later at Georgetown.
Peter's first KGB instructions:
During his first year at McGill, he should concentrate upon achieving academic success while trying to identify any students or professors sympathizing with the Soviet Union. In no circumstances should he himself evince any such sympathy. He would return to Msocow in the summer of 1975 to begin training and indoctrination.
As he prepares to transfer to Georgetown as a junior, Peter received more instructions:
Look for students with fathers in government, fathers who because of personal problems or character flaws might be approachable.
Look for "progressive" students and professors who strongly oppose the imperialist policies of the United States.
Look for part-time employment at the Center for Stragetic and International Studies at Georgetown.
Try to make friends with any Chinese students at Georgetown and learn all you can about them.
Spycraft for kids. What a breeze to practice on childlike Americans.
As with the Anna Chapman ring, the FBI was watching the Hermann family for some time before it came down on Rudi, then Inga, then Peter, in the spring of 1977. In the Hermanns' case, the FBI was able to turn the family into double agents who stayed on the job through the end of 1979. Rudi, in particular, was able to expose "grave Soviet penetrations."
In wrapping up the case, however, Barron notes:
The greatest benefit, however, derives not from what was gained but from what was prevented. If the FBI had not been able to detect [Rudi], his brilliant son Peter right now probably would be working his way upward into the highest councils of government, sharing with the KGB all that he saw and heard.
It's impossible not to wonder whether someone like Peter is doing exactly that right now. In 2010, KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky thought there were probably 40 to 50 Russian deep-cover intelligence couples operating clandestinely in the US. Any of their kids get through Kennedy School or Georgetown, and into the government -- or Hudson, finally, or Heritage, etc. -- without being caught by the FBI?
More troubling than this possibility, though, is the answer from our elected leaders. Continuing to pretend the 2010 Russian ring never existed, they seem not to want to find out how and by whom and why such infiltrations are mounted. No, they would rather expose the "Russian influence" that Putin's ambassador exerted at a reception at the Republican National Convention over AG Jeff Sessions.
If you don't study the nuts and bolts, you are sure to miss the whole mechanism.
But maybe that's their goal, some of them.