Wednesday, December 20, 2006

KGB Orphans?

According to the online newsjournal, Embassy, the Russian spy recently nabbed in Montreal may have been a KGB orphan, one of many sleepers left behind with the collapse of the Soviet Union:

"A former Canadian spy doubts that a Russian man arrested in Montreal and deported last month for allegedly spying in Canada for the past 10 years was a government agent.

"Janice Cowan believes that in a day and age where economic spying has taken precedent over the state-sponsored military surveillance, the man could be a rogue KGB agent hiring out his skills to private entities for his own personal benefit.

"'I just can't see, in 1995, somebody actually planting him there,' Ms. Cowan said. 'He probably was at one time with the KGB. I'm sure, living in Montreal, he was using his spycraft.'

"'But maybe it was going to companies and finding out information, or maybe having information already that he could give to them. Somebody found him useful and he used that training to make himself some money.'"

"In her fast-paced book,"A Spy's Wife", Ms. Cowan explains how military attach├ęs assigned to Moscow and other Soviet cities performed their jobs both before and after the Iron Curtain fell. While Western spies continued collecting information because no one knew what would happen next, dozens of KGB agents who had been working abroad were cut off from resources and contact. Many went rogue, using their skills in other ways.

"'There's so many of them,' she said. 'They fell like dandelion seeds all over the world and they've been hired by somebody who's really, really rich.'

"One hint that this may have been the case with the man arrested in Montreal was his initial decision to fight efforts to have him deported, Ms. Cowan said. The man eventually reversed his decision, but it raised questions.

"'It seemed strange that he was going to fight deportation,' she said. "'I thought: 'That's really strange for a spy. Why isn't he just happy to go home?' I sort of agree with the Russian ambassador in that he wasn't connected to anyone.'"

It all makes sense. If this guy was a KGB orphan, it explains why the Canadian government simply wanted to send him home instead of throwing him in prison.

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