Putins spy war on the West
May 20, 2007 4:54 AM   Subscribe

Putins spy war on the West White House intelligence advisers believe no other country is as aggressive as Russia in trying to obtain US secrets, with the possible exception of China. In particular the SVR, as the former KGB’s foreign intelligence arm is now known, is using a network of undercover agents in America to gather classified information about sensitive technologies, including military projects under development and high-tech research.
posted by jouke (30 comments total)
Are we to expect that the USA aren't still spying on the Russians?

This is what big countries do.
posted by knapah at 5:03 AM on May 20, 2007

With the amount we spend on military research, they'd be stupid not to.
posted by Malor at 5:34 AM on May 20, 2007

posted by phaedon at 5:39 AM on May 20, 2007

LOL! From the comments section after the article:
Our security is being jeopardized by the weak-minded liberals who must not know history, or are working for the other side. We need strong borders and strong military. Mark my words: "If we continue to show Chamberlain-type weakness in the face of opposition, our enemies will one day walk all over us and we will then have to dig deep to climb back up." It won't be the weak dems that put us in the situation that will dig down either. I echo "God help my once proud country!"

Quentin Morford, Bradenton, FL
I can't help but to remark that George W. Bush looked into Putin's heart and found an 'ally'. And, needless to say, Bush is no Liberal. For that matter, neither was Neville Chamberlain.

Then again, Robert Hanssen was a true-beliver (Opus Dei, etc.), not to mention that when the Bush White House gets crucial intelligence, they either ignore it or make up their own.

My bet is on the Chinese...
posted by vhsiv at 6:18 AM on May 20, 2007

American military tech strategy is like a man who gets an awesome penis extension but as a result can no longer maintain an erection.

If the Russians and Chinese adopt American military tech strategies they too can repeatedly fail spectacularly and expensively while looking good in the gym shower.

BTW - Israel has also been caught spying on the US a couple of times. There is also the Canadian nanotech spy coins used on US military contractors.
posted by srboisvert at 6:27 AM on May 20, 2007 [4 favorites]

weak-minded liberals who must not know history

And Know Nothing "conservatives" that re-write it.

Putin has every reason to feel threatend by these Know Nothings. Who expanded NATO into the former Soviet Satellites, who is proposing a missile-"defense" system in Russia's backyard, who has adopted a policy of pre-emptive war?

Putin would be negligent if he DIDN'T spy on Bush's America.
posted by three blind mice at 6:55 AM on May 20, 2007

...and we will then have to dig deep to climb back up.

That is so... Republican.
posted by c13 at 7:00 AM on May 20, 2007

srboisvert: There is also the Canadian nanotech spy coins used on US military contractors.

um, you're joking, right?
posted by sunexplodes at 7:58 AM on May 20, 2007

that would be "You're joking, eh?"
posted by srboisvert at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2007

But, but, our Dear Leader looked into Pootie-Poot's soul and said he loved democracy and we could trust him! Dear Leader just *can't* be wrong! Those terrorist loving libruls at the Times must be lying!


posted by sotonohito at 8:08 AM on May 20, 2007

And Neville Chamberlain was a 'Conservative' before he perpetrated one of the greatest security failures in British history.^

Did history repeat itself here in the US?
posted by vhsiv at 8:28 AM on May 20, 2007

Our security is being jeopardized by the weak-minded liberals...

As someone who works in a Defense-related semi-academic setting, I can tell you that weak-minded liberals are CREATING your security.
posted by DU at 9:17 AM on May 20, 2007

DU, is that a threat?
posted by symbioid at 9:26 AM on May 20, 2007

Follow up on Canadian "Spy Coins" (retarded)
posted by anthill at 9:52 AM on May 20, 2007

There is also the Canadian nanotech spy coins used on US military contractors.

I have a few of those dastardly spy coins in my wallet right now. When I am feeling exhibitionist, I set them all up in a row and put on a show for the shadowy spy masters. Maybe I'll strike the fancy of one of those gorgeous, leather-clad female assassins.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:57 AM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Do you mean that former KGB foreign service agent Vladimir Putin isn't keen on firing his Lubyanka homies, but would rather give them more work and power?

I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you...
posted by Skeptic at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2007

I think your perceptions of US military capability have been seriously skewed by what's happening in Iraq. In a conventional war, like the initial one against Saddam or a war against nations like China or Russia, the US military works extremely well. Iraq is going badly because of the massive incompetence and poor planning of the political leadership, and the refusal to consider non-military solutions to the insurgent problem. I don't think it's that the US military can't fight insurgents, it's just that the political leaders are really hindering things.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:30 PM on May 20, 2007

One of the more significant technology exports of Russia is spyware, no pun intended. Russian entities control huge swaths of zombied Windows machines in the Western hemisphere.

They have the infrastructure to launch all kinds of remote network attacks. It is already happening in Estonia.

Add to that the endorsement of Microsoft technologies in the storage and dissemination of digital information by the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security — it seems clear that Russia could fairly easily cripple the information infrastructure of most of the domestic United States and its troops overseas in a time of war.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:05 PM on May 20, 2007

In a conventional war, like the initial one against Saddam or a war against nations like China or Russia, the US military works extremely well.

Yeah, The US really kicked ass in all those conventional wars they've fought in the past 50 years. Oh wait, there was only one and that was against the pathetic Iraqi army in Gulf War, which the US has now managed to transform into a highly effective guerrilla force. It's a cliche, but people forget it, you build an army to fight the wars of the future not the wars of the past. At the height of the cold war, the Russian army would have kicked the US's ass in a conventional war in Europe, but nukes made it irrelevant anyway.
posted by afu at 1:56 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

In a conventional war, like the initial one against Saddam or a war against nations like China or Russia, the US military works extremely well.

This is much like arguing that "under a conventional assault on the French border by Germany, the Maginot Line works extremely well."
posted by deanc at 2:52 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

In a conventional war ... against nations like China or Russia, the US military works extremely well.

What earthly proof is there of this?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:26 PM on May 20, 2007

The comments on the article are ALL pure gold!
Don't people have better things to do? (Oh...)
posted by sam and rufus at 6:49 PM on May 20, 2007

KAL's cartoon
posted by acro at 7:22 PM on May 20, 2007

I don't really get the shock about my comment. Every war situation is different. If we were ever to go to war with China or Russia, it wouldn't be a WWII-esque landing operation, and it wouldn't be Iraq. It would have to be, due to the circumstances, a long-distance war fought via air, space, and sea. In these areas, the US has unquestioned dominance. China, for instance, has a very large but outdated land force, and a relatively negligible sea and air force. The country could be isolated militarily but not taken unless we somehow caused an internal conflict. Such a war would have to end via negotiation. I can't see how you could argue that the US lacks the military dominance to engage in a conflict like that.
Which was my point in the first place. I didn't mean that if everything was lined up perfectly, we could win. We didn't lose Vietnam militarily, we lost for the same reason we're losing Iraq: a complete failure to, as the Administration ironically noted, "win hearts and minds". A guerilla war can be won in one of two ways: extreme, indiscriminate brutality (if you kill everyone and everything, there's no one to rise up), or you get the populace to not want to support the insurgents. We're not going to do the former, but the Administration has basically refused to do the latter either, which is why the struggle perpetuates. The situation deteriorates in Iraq, but we don't really bother trying to fix the day-to-day problems. Instead, we try to apply force to the situation, but since we're not willing and it would be incredibly evil to apply the neccessary force, we end up stomping out insurgents here and there but not really doing much. Meanwhile, thanks to the frustrated populace, the insurgents can always refresh their ranks.
It's stupid to take the view that the US military can't do anything. You're letting one situation blind you. The key to the wars of the future is a delicate combination of diplomacy, economics, culture, and force. No one in the world is in a position where they can just overwhelm the other big players anymore. In the Cold War we had the threat of nuclear death to keep minds sound, but that specific kind of situation isn't likely to arise again.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:43 PM on May 20, 2007

I should also add, in case it wasn't clear, that it's the incompetence of the current leaders that's the problem. They just don't seem to even care to adapt. Rumsfield moved in the right directions, but he brings so many other problems to the table he wasn't going to be the reformer needed. Smaller, more specialized forces, better intelligence gathering and processing, etc. I'm not saying the US military is perfect, because there are many badly-needed reforms, just that it's still a formidable force. I'm just wondering where all the doubt is based on.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:47 PM on May 20, 2007

The number of nuclear powers has risen since the end of the cold war, Israel has acknowledged its arsenal, Pakistan's weapons are far from secure, and China is holder of ~$1 trillion of U.S. debt. Conventional war ended in 1945. Every major conflict since then has been set with the backdrop of what the nuclear powers are set to gain or lose by 'a conventional war'.
Also, it sounds like a theory based on Tom Clancy book -- The Bear and the Dragon
posted by acro at 8:13 PM on May 20, 2007

Once the White House and Senate make an Amnesty deal with the Islamo-Fascist-Nazis, it will be muy importante to immediately have a new National Enemy. Good thing we've been hatin' on the Rooskies for 60 years!
posted by kenlayne at 10:48 PM on May 20, 2007


One of the problems with your statement is that it provides no context. A war to what end? To kill as many civilians as possible to cause capitulation to some demand? A war for territory? A war to sway the inhabitants of one country to overthrow its govenment? A war of retribution? The point others were trying to make is that there isn't a generic "war". Each one is different and has unforeseen issues at play. You can't assert things broadly about who would beat whom in a war. You have to talk about specifics and even then uncertainty always plays a big role.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:11 AM on May 21, 2007

He was talking about generic conventional warfare between two traditional military forces, I dont see what is so complicated about that. Also going into the first gulf war Iraq was far from pathetic militarily. They had a well trained and well equipped military force that was strong enough that Saddam felt confident that he could invade a sovereign country that was an ally of ours and it would act as a sufficient deterrent to our intervention. He essentially had a cold war army with massive tank divisions and large amounts of high quality armor and mobile ballistics platforms (remember the scuds), and had an army that was custom tailored to destroy that sort of army without giving them the opportunity to shoot back.

In an engagement between the United States military and any conventional military force on the planet there is absolutely no question that the US would win a swift, flashy, and expensive victory with very little loss of life on our side. The problem is that we still do not have an effective strategy for asymmetrical warfare, and we are using the wrong tools for the job.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:07 AM on May 21, 2007


I think we just talked right past each other.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:44 PM on May 21, 2007

« Older Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda and the Arcade Fire   |   Tips on becoming a better you Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments