Amid the recent arrests of Russian spies in the United States is in the public eye and another topic. Although we may think we have a huge invasion of SVR agents. They seems to be everywhere… ;)) The 300-page report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – was presented on Monday, 22 June 2010, by its head Heinz Fromm along with Maiziere, Deutsche Welle (DW) writes. The authors of the report underline that Germany is a country with an economy oriented for the development of technologies and export. The Interior Minister said that the threat of industrial espionage – which increased in 2009 – was of particular concern to the government. Largely the Internet is to blame, Maiziere said, as the exchange of information via the worldwide web increases the risk of falling victim to spies. Maiziere noted that currently companies underestimate this risk and urged them to work together with the government to protect technologies from competitors.
“The situation with dangers [to German economy] is concrete. Such states as Russia and China – via their secret services – actively conduct undercover work in such fields as economy, science and research,” the document reads. According to the data released, Russia and China also “track technical information as well as business strategies.” The most dangerous inquiries, the document states, “are those aimed at mobile communications and computer systems (conducted via internet) of various businesses and state organizations. International financial and economic crisis also has its negative effect upon security structures of private enterprises.”
Earlier in May, the problem was voiced by the head of Germany’s counterintelligence, Burkhard Even. Speaking at a security forum in Bonn, reported Germany’s The Local, he claimed that it was estimated that out of the 500 staff of the Russian embassy in Berlin, 150 were working as intelligence agents, disguised as journalists and diplomats – and there might be a lot more of those among about five million Russians living in Germany.
“Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said it expects an explanation from Berlin over the “groundless” accusations of industrial espionage on the territory of Germany”, report Russia Today on Monday, 28 June 2010. “First of all, we are talking about a standard set of claims against Russian diplomatic missions in Germany, which in the understanding of German counterintelligence services are ‘spy nests’ posing a threat to Germany’s security” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Andrey Nesterenko. “We would hope to get explanations from our partners through diplomatic channels” he said, the ministry’s webpage quotes.
If about German report Moscow said that “again abounds in groundless accusations against our country borrowed from the past – as it seemed – Cold Era times”, about new allegations of espionage in the United States, Russian officials were quick to not comment. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Israel, but has found time to a short comment on the matter. “They haven’t explained what they mean. I hope they will do so. The only thing I can say is that it’s perfect timing” Lavrov said, noted that U.S. authorities announced the arrest days after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited the United States..
But there were voices on both sides of the political commentators have labeled the scandal as “a bad film series”. Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst said that: “case is PR for FBI, to show they’re still in business, they’re active in anti-terrorist war”. Such success could, to say, affording them the opportunity to request more money from the federal budget, U.S. analyst concluded.
Worth mentioning is another aspect: Russian spy scandal will divert public attention from the recent and controversial U.S. removal of General McChrystal from Command of Military Forces in Afghanistan just when a major offensive involving about 700 U.S. and Afghan troops along eastern Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. Gen. David Petraeus will try to convince a war-weary Congress on Tuesday, 29 June 2010, that he is the man to turn the war in Afghanistan around and mend the military’s tattered relations with civilian leaders. Lawmakers say he is a shoo-in to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whom President Barack Obama fired last week after the general and his aides were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article disparaging specific people in the administration, including Obama, who in the U.S. system is overall commander of the U.S. military. Petraeus probably will be confirmed this week.
Prime Minister and Former KGB spy Vladimir Putin – who by an odd coincidence was meeting former US president Bill Clinton in Moscow — said he hoped the arrests would not impact the recent improvement in Russia-US ties. Using his trademark irony, Russian Prime Minister did not hesitate to note his guest that: “You came at the right time ! Your police have let themselves go, and put people in prison”. However, as anticipated in previous posting, Putin told his American visitor in comments broadcast on state television that: “I expect that the positive tendency in relations over the last years is not harmed. We very much hope that people who value good relations understand this”.