Long Before New Hacks, U.S. Worried by Russian Spying Efforts

Years before Russian intelligence agencies stood accused of interfering in the U.S. presidential election and of orchestrating a massive Yahoo data breach, there was lingerie model Anna Chapman and her band of "Illegals" -- Russian spies who assumed false identities and lived as deep-cover agents in middle-class America.

The busting-up of that spy ring, along with the arrest two years ago of a Russian spy who posed as a Manhattan banker and this week's announcement of an indictment of Russian agents in the Yahoo email hack, underscore long-running efforts by the American authorities to closely monitor and occasionally interrupt the Kremlin's intelligence-gathering operations.

Though allegations of meddling in the political process represent a stunning new flare-up in relations between the two countries, U.S. intelligence agencies for years have been concerned by Russian efforts to infiltrate American society and government.

"What we have seen as far as the arrests is really only scratching the surface of the real Russian activity here," said Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis at the Texas-based Stratfor intelligence firm.

Many counterintelligence investigations can last for years without resulting in criminal charges, preventing the public from having a complete grasp of evidence collected or tactics that are used.

But a few sensational Justice Department prosecutions in the last decade have pulled back the curtain on Russian efforts to recruit university students, gather information on the stock market and on sanctions, sway public opinion and cultivate well-placed contacts. And recent hacking allegations make clear that old-fashioned spying techniques have now been augmented by cyber expertise that can in some cases accomplish similar goals.

"They want to understand how the White House is going to work, and how Washington will respond to what Russians are doing in Europe and the Middle East," said Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the liberal-oriented Brookings Institution and...

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