Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Estonian Spy

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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.

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  1. Just in time to coincide with the latest Bond film, too.

  2. underlining the contiguous relationship between the KGB and its predecessor, the FSB

    I believe you mean successor. The FSB was formed from the remnants of the KGB.

  3. I have a serious question although it may seem like a threadjack: I always thought “Nato” was NATO (or even more forally: N.A.TO.). It is an acronym, is it not? This “Nato” spelling seems to be a more common occurance now. Was there some sort of monumental global grammatical acceptance of N.A.T.O. as Nato? Is it no longer solely North Atlantic entities involved therefore requiring a slight rename from N.A.T.O. to Nato?

  4. “forally: N.A.TO.).” = “formally: N.A.T.O.).”

    Dammit.

  5. “Nato” is a British thing. I’ve seen them do it with others, too. I think it only works with acronyms that are pronounced as words rather than a series of letters.

  6. You mean I have to stop referring to them as “Uk?”

  7. Wow! After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russians are still acting like Russians.

    Who could have predicted that?

  8. The article uses both NATO and Nato… kind of funny.

  9. >>underlining the contiguous relationship between the KGB and its predecessor, the FSB

    >I believe you mean successor. The FSB was formed from the remnants of the KGB.

    Still not quite correct. The FSB is a successor to the KGB, just not the one that handles foreign intelligence. That one is called the SVR. Although it is possible that they do not consider Estonia an independent foreign nation, so this may be an FSB job after all.

  10. It seems to have in fact been the SVR:

    http://www.postimees.ee/?id=46722

    Also, the Estonian language appears to have some very long words.

  11. looks like denmark has been replaced by estonia in that regards…

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