From Russia to Washington, D.C. with Love

Given the recent Russian spy game between Moscow and Awesome Washington, D.C., the movie SALT about a Russian spy released last week, and the sexy Russian summer dress contest this weekend in D.C. I just covered, I decided to dig a little bit deeper and try to add more juice to this whole Russian spy thing.

Meet all Russian spies throughout history since the Soviet era, organized and shipped out from  mother Russia to operate in the West including D.C.:

Starting with their Headquarters
The Moscow offices of the Committee for State Security, better known as the KGB. The storied intelligence agency was reorganized twice after the fall of the Soviet Union, finally becoming the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, or the FSB. Its foreign branch is known as the Foreign Intelligence Service, known by its Russian acronym, SVR, with its headquarters in Yasenevo, in Moscow.

Agents #1 &2: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
In 1950, the infamous husband and wife were accused by the FBI of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. They were found guilty in a trial that helped fuel the red scare. Despite doubts as to Julius’ and especially Ethel’s guilt, the pair were executed for espionage at Sing Sing prison in New York on June 19, 1953.

Agents #3: Lavrenti Beria
Responsible for several party and organizational “purges” as well as the deaths of countless people, Beria was Stalin’s head of state security and intelligence chief. Ironically, Beria was charged with being a paid asset of British intelligence shortly after the Rosenbergs were executed in 1953. He met the same fate they did.

Agents #4: Elizabeth Bentley
In 1938 Bentley began spying on fascists in New York City for the Communist Party of the United States, and by proxy the Soviet Union. Later she would control two separate groups of spies in the U.S. In 1945, after being demoted by controllers in Moscow, Bentley went to the FBI and gave up the 100-plus spies that comprised her networks.


Agents #5: Rudolf Abel
Famed “illegal” Abel operated in the U.S. from 1947 until 1957, when he was uncovered during the defection of his assistant, Reino Häyhänen. Abel, whose real name was Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher, and Häyhänen used hollow coins, among other methods, to pass communications back and forth and to their handlers. Their schemes began to unravel when one of their hollow nickels containing a coded message accidentally ended up in the hands of a Brooklyn newsboy. Abel was tried and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment but was exchanged in 1962 for U2 pilot Gary Powers and an American student. Upon his return to the U.S.S.R., Abel was hailed as a hero and awarded the Order of Lenin, the Soviet Union’s highest honor.

Agents #6: Kim Philby
In 1941 Philby joined the British intelligence, MI6, despite the fact that he had been working for the Soviet intelligence since 1933. MI6 only realized he was a double agent in 1963, leaving a 20-plus–year window for Philby, who reached the highest ranks of the British clandestine service, to hand over as much top-secret information as he could. Philby managed to escape to Moscow, where he lived out his remaining years as a hero of the Soviet Union. He died in 1988.

Agents #7: Anthony Blunt
Part of the infamous Cambridge Five group of British spies (Kim Philby was also a member), Blunt handed over intelligence to the Soviets during World War II while he served in MI5. He secretly confessed in 1964, but his espionage remained a state secret until 1979, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher publicly outed him and Queen Elizabeth II rescinded his knighthood.

Agents #8 & 9: Morris and Lona Cohen
Both husband and wife were born in the U.S. and began serving as Soviet spies in the late 1930s. They were forced to suspend their espionage activities after their identities were compromised. After a few years, they set up shop in London under the guise of Helen and Peter Kroger, antique booksellers. The pair were arrested in 1961 for their involvement with the Portland Spy Ring and freed in 1969 as part of an exchange for Gerald Brooke, a British citizen arrested in the Soviet Union. Upon arrival in the U.S.S.R., both were named Heroes of the Soviet Union, where they helped train more spies.

Agents #10: Christopher Boyce
Boyce, who was inspiration for Robert Lindsey’s best seller The Falcon and the Snowman as well as the film adaptation, sold classified communiqués to the Soviets through his friend Andrew Dalton Lee. Boyce was arrested in 1977 after Lee was nabbed in front of the Soviet embassy in Mexico City. After a prison break in 1980, Boyce went on a bank-robbing spree and plotted to escape to the Soviet Union. He was rearrested in a diner parking lot in 1981. Boyce was released in 2003 and remains on parole until 2047.

Agents #11: Aldrich Ames
The former CIA counterintelligence agent netted about $4.6 million for selling his services to the Soviet Union. Ames worked odd jobs at the agency while in high school, and after college, he signed on full time. After an expensive divorce and marriage to a second wife with no ability to budget, Ames found himself maxed out. He considered bank robbery to alleviate his debts but deemed it easier to peddle secrets to the KGB. Before being caught in 1994, Ames had fingered 10 sources for execution and blown more than 100 operations.

Agents #12: Robert Hanssen, the most asshole one
Pictured here in a portrait taken in commemoration of his 20th anniversary with the FBI, Hanssen, who worked in counterintelligence, sold out to the Soviets in 1979, after only three years at the bureau. Hanssen continued to sell secrets even after the fall of the Soviet Union. It was not until 2001 that the FBI was able to catch him in the act at a drop spot in Virginia. When agents took him into custody, Hanssen inquired, “What took you so long?”

Hanssen got caught around 2002 when I was just about to move to Europe for 4 years. The movie about him was released in 2007:

Finally the latest one, agents #13: Anna Chapman – The sweetest and hottest one. The one I missed to shag 🙂

Allegedly part of an 11-person Russian spy ring, Chapman regularly passed secrets to a Russian government official and was picked up in an FBI sting operation. The 10 alleged spies arrested in the U.S. (one was arrested in Cyprus) were not charged with espionage but with failing to register as foreign agents. Some of them were also charged with money laundering.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

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