I'm no John Le Carre' (neither is he, it's a pseudonym) and I don't even think Tom Clancy believes half of what he writes is true. I live with four women so keeping secrets is impossible. I doubt the CIA or FBI will be asking me to to track the movements of my neighbors, some of whom are not orginally from the United States. That prefaced, I am fascinated by the recent Russian spy scandal involved 11 alleged KGB agents working inside America who have been exposed and will soon be sent back to their Mother Russia.
The United States government is claiming the spy sting is the greatest gathering of suspects in the history of espionage between us, um, the U.S.A and Russia. Intelligence experts (those two words together make me laugh, too) say these 11 not so secret agents may well represent more spies than were in the United States during the Cold War scared 1950s. What intrigues me about this story isn't the covert nature of spying or the possibility of important state secrets exchanging hands with an enemy; it's the utter imcompetence of the 11 spies and the nonchalance of American and Russian reaction.
After watching Jack Bauer load massive files onto his PDA and then use his never dead cell phone to save the world season after season on 24, maybe I'm a little underwhelmed by news of real Russian spies who have facebook accounts, club in Manhattan, and allow FBI agents to easily catch them. I mean James Bond needs a good two hours to travel to four or five different countries, bed two Mata Hari types, see one of his best buddies die, and figure out a way to defeat a master villain that either has a scar on his face or a quirky but scary henchman. These not so master spies were led by femme fatale known in America as Anna Chapman who had a previously mentioned facebook account full of provocative photos in various states of undress as well as pictures of her partying with billionaires and B-list celebrities. At one point, an undercover FBI agent walks up to her, tells her he is her substitute control officer. Then other FBI agents watch her walk into a Verizon store, buy a prepaid cell phone card, then drop the bag and receipt in the trash. This 21st century Mata Hari signed the receipt "Irene Kutsov" with the address 99 Fake Street. Yeah, more Get Smart, than Bourne Ultimatum.
It's believed by Intelligence Experts (one of these days they're going to be a cool rock band with that name) , that the current Russian espionage goal is information of U.S. policy towards Iran. Shouldn't the Kremlin be hitting up the Kardashian sisters instead of Anna Chapman and her merry pranksters? Kim, Kourtney, Khloe and the others ones' dad was from Iran. Oh crap, did I just undercover the real Kremlin plot? Quick someone check the E Channel for clues. I don't watch that show, but the New Orleans Saints just won the Super Bowl then Kim dumped Saints running back Reggie Bush. That was the flashpoint, wasn't it?
After 9/11 the main talking point was how American Intelligence had failed us. The FBI and CIA and military experts did not talk to each other. Terror "cells" were rampant in the U.S. and Canada. Osama Bin Laden and other evil creeps had used our own openness and freedom against us. Then Homeland Security was created and the Patriot Act was passed. People were debating on whether giving up some civil rights was necessary to "protect" out national security. I admit I panicked with the rest of the country and thought Homeland Security and the Patriot Act were musts. I've changed. The lack of evolution of espionage in this Russian case is proof that my own instinct are correct. We have the technology and intelligence to track bad guys, but the bad guys may not be as prevelant and competent as we thought they were.
There has been no threat of retaliation from the Russian for arresting their agents. The U.S. isn't even threatening retribution for Russian infiltration. This may be a combination of the agents not having anything on us or they may just be fascinated with Anna Chapman's facebook profile and they don't want her to go private with anything. There are real enemies out there. Al Qaeda is recruiting furiously in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia. There are rumors of camps operating in Mexico and Venezuela. The Chinese are spending trillions on defense satellites and military hardware. You know, like the U.S. spends. Iran may be a superpower, in the sense of nuclear weapons and anti-American interests in surrounding countries. What I don't see is this imminent danger within our own borders of double secrets agents exposing information that will all have us wearing fill beards and burquas or eating exclusively at Panda Express in the year 2013.
I've written all this on Al Gore's internet and his recent entanglement with massage therapists may have been the powder keg ignition on our enemies finding out that dumb bloggers aren't that scared of them after all. Those Kardashian sisters are sinister. I mean Khloe just married a Los Angeles Laker. In a span of six months those girls have managed to find out everything possible on a Super bowl Champion and an NBA dynasty. We're doomed. Where's Jack Bauer, when you need him?