July 12th, 2010
11:30 AM ET

Spy swap was a mistake

Gene Coyle
Special to CNN
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/07/09/coyle.spy.swap/tzleft.coyle.gene.arthur.courtesy.jpg caption="Ex-CIA Russian expert says the quick spy swap will be seen as sign of U.S. weakness" width=300 height=169]

The Obama administration's rush to sweep the recent Russian spy scandal off the table as quickly as possible with this swap is a bad move on several counts.

It is understandable and correct that President Barack Obama values the overall U.S.-Russian relationship above the question of whether a few Russian spies spend years in jail.

The "reset" campaign was an excellent idea; too bad no one in our Department of State knew how to correctly spell the word in Russian when Secretary Hillary Clinton presented the "button" to the Russian Foreign Minister. However, there is a line between seeking a mutually beneficial relationship and delusional pandering.

The history of U.S.-Russian relations shows that dealing respectfully but firmly is what works best. Most importantly, Moscow only agrees to anything that it perceives to be at least 50 percent in its self-interest, not because we've been nice guys. The only thing releasing all of these deep-cover Russian intelligence officers within a matter of days is going to teach Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, an old KGB officer, is that Obama is a pushover - overly focused on making sure not to offend Russia.

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Filed under: Russian Spies
July 8th, 2010
12:33 PM ET

Spy suspects could plead guilty, be deported soon

CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/07/08/russian.spy.hearings/t1larg.jpg caption="Spy suspects Patricia Mills and Michael Zottoli, left foreground, appear last week in an Alexandria, Virginia, court in a drawing." width=300 height=169]

Ten suspected Russian spies in the United States could enter guilty pleas Thursday and be swiftly deported, possibly as soon as Thursday night, a source with detailed knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

The source said the suspects are expected to plead guilty in federal court in New York to one of the current charges against them - failing to register as a foreign agent - and will likely be sentenced to time already served since they were arrested at the end of June.

The development comes amid reports of a possible exchange of the accused Russian spies in the United States for convicted Russian spies in Russia.

One of those Russians - a man convicted of spying for the United States in 2004 and possibly on a list for the swap - left Russia earlier Thursday and arrived in Vienna, Austria, Russia's state-run news agency RIA-Novosti reported. The scientist's family told CNN he was part of the exchange.

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Filed under: Russian Spies