Commentary

Swapping Spies

Rich Galen
By Rich Galen | July 9, 2010 | 5:04 AM EDT

I have no idea why the Obama administration was so eager to swap the 10 spies who were rounded up about two weeks ago for four people being held in Russia as spies for the U.S.
 
I will give Obama the benefit of the doubt that we will learn more from our spies than the Russians will learn from their spies.
 
At least one of the spies who has been imprisoned in Russia may have been the person who told the CIA about Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanson - two spies for the Soviet Union who may have cost dozens of lives of U.S. agents. He's a good one to get back.
 
On the other hand, the Secaucus 10 appear to have been more into being comparison shoppers at the Short Hills Mall in New Jersey and reporting to Moscow what they've learned about how fast you can travel on the New York State Thruway before State Troopers will pull you over.
 
If I had known the Russians were holding open auditions for spies, I might have run down and tried out. I would have told them everything I've learned about Idaho Falls, Idaho where I was just 10 days ago.
 
I would have been able to report that there is not one, but two Ameritels there. Where else can Vladimir Putin get that kind of info?
 
As several of them were arrested right here in Alexandria, Virginia, I could have been their control officer. I could have used secret writing techniques to pass them confidential notes like:
 
M.E.E.T.     M.E.     A.T.     T.H.E.     S.T.A.R.B.U.C.K.S
 
Then, I could attend the meeting without being detected because people would think I was stopping in at the Starbucks as I do every day. Hiding in plain sight. That's my recognized spy talent.
 
Ok, maybe that's not the best example, but you get what I mean.
 
The whole notion of spying on America is ludicrous in the 21st Century. The Russians don't have to plant long-term sleepers to find out what's going on here. All they need to do is aim a satellite dish and watch the cable news shows.
 
Northeastern states may want to revisit their opposition to the Arizona immigration law. It seems to me that giving New York/New Jersey transit cops the right to stop people at random at the Port Authority bus station and ask them if they are Russian spies might yield some excellent results.
 
Of course, in Midtown Manhattan cops are more likely to find people who will admit to being from -- insist they are from -- Pluto than St. Petersburg.
 
If I can't be a Russian spy on Putin's payroll, I wish a Russian spy would have tried to wheedle intelligence out of me. Especially that red-haired babe.
 
I would have told her anything if she called me "Boris" and she let me call her "Natasha."
 
I know a lot of useful stuff, in addition to Idaho Falls, I mean. I know how to get from one side of the Capitol Building to the other, underground. Anyone can get there walking across the Rotunda, but I can do it working my way through the hallways under the building.
 
That has to be worth something, doesn't it?
 
I would be a horrible spy. I can't keep anything a secret.
 
The Mullings Director of Standards & Practices' real name, maybe. I haven't told you that.
 
It's Natasha.
 
One the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the U.K. Guardian's reporting on the court appearance of the Russian spies in the U.S. and the Associated Press' coverage of the U.S. spies' appearance in a Russian court. Also an amusing Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

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