In one of the more disconcerting things you'll hear today concerning Russian spies, it appears that "Sexy Spy" Anna Chapman and the network of Russian sleeper agents known as The Illegals she belonged to, were thinking long-term and actually recruiting their members' children. "A Russian spy ring busted in the U.S. two years ago planned to recruit members' children to become agents, and one had already agreed to his parents' request, according to current and former U.S. officials," reports The Wall Street Journal's Devlin Barrett.
As you may recall, back in 2010, the year that the spies were caught, The New York Daily News' James Gordon Meek reported that this spy network, which pretended to be Americans in New York, New Jersey and D.C.'s suburbs, engaged in spy sex and had children together to beef up their cover as Americans, but at the time we didn't know that the children might actually be future recruits, aka, Spy Kids. "Children born or reared in America were potentially more valuable espionage assets than their parents because when they grew up they would be more likely to pass a U.S. government background check," explains Barrett, adding that members (Chapman didn't have any children) had seven children ranging in ages from 1 to 20. (The spies, when revealed, were soon deported.) Back in 2010, an Associated Press story by David B. Caruso discussed the chidren of spies--from the pianist at New York's LaGuardia High to Tim Foley, a (then) 20-year-old student at George Washington University. And it was that Tim Foley, who was so very close to becoming the next generation of spy. Barrett writes:
His parents revealed their double life to him well before their arrest, according to current and former officials, whose knowledge of the discussion was based on surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that included bugging suspects' homes. The officials said the parents also told their son they wanted him to follow in their footsteps.
He agreed, said the officials. At the end of the discussion with his parents, according to one person familiar with the surveillance, the young man stood up and saluted "Mother Russia." He also agreed to travel to Russia to begin formal espionage training, officials said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.