Anna Chapman wasn't just a member of one of the largest rings of Russian sleeper agents ever rolled up by the FBI, officials say. The 29-year-old former real estate agent, who became a lingerie model and corporate spokeswoman back in Moscow, represented a new breed of Russian spies adapted to the post-Cold War world.
Chapman and fellow ring member Mikhail Semenko, another young deep-cover agent who worked in a D.C.-area travel agency, were technically skilled and able to work comfortably in a Western culture and did so using their own names, said C. Frank Figliuzzi, FBI assistant director for counterintelligence.
They ``were very tech-savvy, very intellectual,'' Figliuzzi said, adding that Semenko is fluent in five languages, including Chinese.
The FBI released video and other documents to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The investigation was code-named ``Ghost Stories,'' the release of documents on Halloween a coincidence.
The operation's codename, Ghost Stories, stems from a number of the spies using a technique known among counter-intelligence investigators as ``dead doubles'' _ taking the identities of people who have died. Tracey Lee Ann Foley, Michael Zottoli, Donald Heathfield and Patricia Mills all used the technique, Figliuzzi
The U.S. traded the 10 Ghost Stories spies arrested by federal agents for four Russians imprisoned for spying for the West at a remote corner of a Vienna airport on July 9.
In addition to Chapman, the Russian illegal agents were:
- Vicky Pelaez and Juan Lazaro of Yonkers, N.Y. Lazaro briefly taught a class on Latin American and Caribbean politics at Baruch College. Pelaez wrote pieces highly critical of U.S. policy in Latin America as a columnist for one of the United States' best-known Spanish-language newspapers, El Diario La Prensa.
- Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills of Arlington, Va. He worked at a telecommunications firm. The couple raised a young son and toddler in their high-rise apartment.
- Cynthia Murphy and her husband, Richard, of Montclair, N.J. He mostly stayed home with their two pre-teen children while she worked for a lower Manhattan-based accounting firm that offered tax advice.
- Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley of Cambridge, Mass. He
worked in sales for an international management consulting firm and
peddled strategic planning software to U.S. corporations. She was a
real estate agent.
- Semenko of Arlington, Va., who spoke Russian, English, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese. He worked at the Travel All Russia agency, where co-workers described him as ``clumsy'' and ``quirky.'' But the FBI described him as linguistically and technically skilled.