Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Estonian Spy


According to the Times of London, the Russian government received classified data on American missile defense from an Estonian defense ministry official in "what is being seen as the most serious case of espionage against Nato since the end of the Cold War." The case has rocked the former Soviet colony, which has long had (and here is the understatement of the year) a strained relationship with its neighbor to the East. It's not a particularly surprising development—Moscow's intelligence services barely skipped a beat after 1991, and are almost as aggressive now as they were in the days of Felix Dzerzhinsky—but this sentence particularly caught my eye, underlining the contiguous relationship between the KGB and its predecessor, the FSB:  "[Accused spy Herman Simm] was recruited by the Russians in the late 1980s and has been charged in Estonia with supplying information to a foreign power." Further details from the Times:

"The longer they work on the case, the more obvious it becomes how big the impact of the suspected treachery really is," according to Der Spiegel magazine. A German official described the Russian penetration of Nato as a "catastrophe".

Comparisons are being drawn with the case of Aldrich Ames, the former head of the CIA counter-intelligence department who was in effect Russia's top agent in the US.

"Simm became a proper agent for the Russian government in the mid-1990s," says the Estonian deputy Jaanus Rahumaegi who heads the country's parliamentary control commission for the security services.

On the face of it, the Simm case resembles the old-fashioned Cold War spy story. He used a converted radio transmitter to set up meetings with his contact, apparently someone posing as a Spanish businessman

Full story.