Friday, March 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Is the spy trade really this basic?

By
From page A6 | May 21, 2013 |

The issue: Arrest of U.S. diplomat in Moscow has elements of farce

Russia’s propaganda apparatus may need an infusion of fresh talent to impart a much-needed touch of realism for what movie theaters used to call “selected short subjects.”

THIS ARCANE BRANCH of Russian cinematography began with a regular series of propaganda films showing Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president and former prime minister, engaged in all manner of macho activities — hunting, fishing (from which, unlike regular practitioners of those sports, he never emerged empty-handed), wrestling, target-shooting, leading a flight of cranes in an ultra-light aircraft.

Alas, the Putin videos jumped the shark when he emerged from scuba-diving in the Black Sea brandishing artifacts from an ancient shipwreck that his Kremlin handlers later admitted had been planted.

Thus, the arrest of U.S. diplomat Ryan Fogle on spy charges, fortuitously recorded in detail by a state-funded TV station, spurred skepticism and suspicion, rather than outrage, in both countries, according to The Washington Post. To those reactions we would add a third: derision.

The Post said “there are a number of credulity-straining details in this incident so bizarre that it’s difficult to square them with what we know about how the CIA actually works.” Considering how successful the Russians were in infiltrating the CIA during the Cold War, they certainly should know how it works, and it works a lot better than the clumsy attempt to frame the third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, if you believe he wasn’t a spy.

FOGLE WAS ARRESTED for allegedly trying to recruit a Russian counterterrorism officer specializing in the Caucasus, an altogether reasonable thing to do considering the alleged Boston Marathon bombers originated there.

But Fogle was arrested with a clumsily written letter — the Post compared it to the writing in a Nigerian email scam — offering $1 million a year for his expertise. Only Afghan President Hamid Karzai gets that kind of money from us.

The spy kit included a map of Moscow — surely the Russian FSB knows there’s a smartphone app for that — two wigs that looked like they came from a cheap theatrical-supply store, a knife, flashlight and — get this — a compass. We know budgets are tight, but the guy at least would have had a GPS.

Fogle was returned to the U.S. Embassy and told to get out of the country. The United States has been expecting something like this since the FBI broke up and expelled 10 members of a sleeper Russian spy ring in 2010.

RUSSIAN OFFICIALS assured their American counterparts that the Fogle incident would not affect relations with the U.S., which are not too good but improving, or upset joint cooperation on international issues.

The whole incident shows that somebody — more likely them than us — is not ready for prime time. A compass? Really?

Comments

comments

.

News

Anti-gay initiative puts AG in a bind

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
County supervisors consider options for historic courthouse

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Two found dead of apparent shooting in West Davis home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New Paso Fino design trims lots

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Woodland police warn of kidnapping phone scam

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Co-pilot may have hidden illness, German prosecutors say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Senate’s Harry Reid announces he won’t seek re-election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Lawyer disputes police’s hoax claim in California kidnapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Empower Yolo offers peer counselor training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sign up for Camp Shakespeare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

State loosens sex offender residency restrictions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Sing along on April Fool’s Day

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Three nabbed in counterfeiting probe

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A6

.

Forum

Can he get life back on track?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Blame Reid for impasse

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Practice cancer prevention each day

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Turnabout is fair play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Be aware and be afraid

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

.

Sports

UCD’s Hawkins, Harris to shoot at Final Four

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Home sweet home: Aggie women win a tennis match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Devil boys grind out a net win at Franklin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS baseballers fall to Vintage in eight innings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD men edge Hawaii on the court

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DYSA roundup: Recent youth softball games feature big hitting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Sacramento get its second straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sharks get a key win over Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

UCD Student Fashion Association presents charity fashion show

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
‘Get Hard’ comes across as rather limp

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Monticello announces April live-music shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Leonardo Tuchman’s work shows at UC Davis Craft Center Gallery

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
Preview Art Studio Tour participants’ work at The Artery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Smokey Brights to perform at Sophia’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
‘Deserted Destinations’ is April exhibit at Gallery 625

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

Camry Hybrid takes a step forward

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Celebrate Rusty Jordan’s Life

By Creator | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, March 27, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B4