How Many Will Agree to Spy Swap?

The spy swap deal seems to be moving along quickly. In Russia, Igor Sutyagin, a former military analyst jailed for spying for the CIA, has already agreed, according to his mother and lawyer. They said Sutyagin, who has already been moved from his Siberian prison to Moscow, had to sign a confession (he's always maintained his innocence) and will be flown from Moscow to Vienna to London. Great Britain has agreed to take him in. On Tuesday, the Russians gave him a passport.

Some of the lawyers for those held in the U.S. have confirmed their clients have been offered a swap deal to return to Russia. What happens to Vicky Peleaz, an American citizen from Peru? I can't imagine she'd want to go to Russia.

Ms. Pelaez's attorney, John M. Rodriguez, said the Russian government called his office Tuesday and asked whether he thought his client would be open to the possible swap. He said he told the Russian government that he didn't believe his client would be open to that. A U.S. official familiar with the matter said Ms. Pelaez would likely have to face a court trial if she didn't agree to be part of the proposed swap.


If one goal of this spy swap is to prevent all the dirty laundry from coming out, it's hard to believe the U.S. would proceed to trial on Pelaez. I would think they would offer her a deal for little or no time, especially since her alleged involvement appears to be minimal.

While Pelaez was granted bond by the Magistrate Court Judge, the U.S. has asked for a new hearing before the District Court Judge, Kimba Wood, which will be held Friday.

If she's released on bond, she'll be in no hurry to make any deals, and will press for discovery, which the Government may not want to provide, as details are likely to show up in her pre-trial motions. Perhaps they'd just drop the charges against her.

On the other hand, if Judge Wood reverses the bond decision, and she's likely to be in pre-trial detention for a year or so while the case proceeds, she may be willing to plead to a minor crime. (The case undoubtedly will be declared complex, which means ordinary speedy trial limits will be extended.)

It's hard to envision the U.S. would want to devote the necessary time and resources to just prosecuting her, if the others have all left for Russia. Nor does it want the details released.

Ana Chapman's lawyer told the Wall St. Journal her deal would likely be finalized tomorrow. Sounds like she'll sign anything that will get her out of what her lawyer calls ""odious" detention."

Question: What happens to the kids? More on them here. The Moscow Times article says Sutyagin was told he could take one family member with him to England. I would imagine the Russia has agreed to take not only the defendants here, but all their children. Still, will the kids who have known nothing other their suburban life styles in the U.S. be forced to choose between moving to Russia or staying with relatives in the U.S. and never seeing their parents? Other than Pelaez, who is a U.S. citizen, the other parents may not have the choice of turning down Russia to stay here, even if it means some time in prison.

One other thing I don't like about the case: The Government is pressuring the defendant to make a choice about the swap before they've seen any of the evidence against them, other than a few affidavits and the Indictment. Before pleading guilty and taking a deal, lawyers at first like to make sure the Government has the evidence to convict them at trial. These are serious decisions the defendants are being forced to consider. I'd want to to see the evidence first, and it doesn't sound like there will be time for that.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Spy v. Spy (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:54:23 AM EST

    Spying is so outdated (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:05:06 AM EST
    None of these people were in the FBI or the CIA or the military.  What the heck sort of "secrets" did they know or have access to?  It is so silly to me.  Swap them....anyone of this spy caliber, just swap them and be done with it:)

    They were "sleepers" (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:46:36 AM EST
    Put into place to try and influence US policy by working their way into society and, if necessary, do us harm at some future date.

    Swapping them for some of "our" spies seems to be a good deal.

    But let's not misunderstand what they were and the danger they represented.


    I guess I fail to appreciate the danger (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:53:45 AM EST
    they represent by working their way "into society" & trying to influence US policy.  Unless their influence was intended to be brought to bear on behalf of tax cuts for the rich and corporations, unlimited military budgets, war and cutting social security and medicare then I doubt they'd have any more influence than any of the rest of US society.

    If you want to support the position that is (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:05:01 PM EST
    okay to have unknown foreign agents, "moles" if you please, inside the country that is your business.

    Of course the point of having moles is they exist for years before the start doing what they are charged to do by their masters.



    They don't keep me up at night (none / 0) (#8)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:15:39 PM EST
    fear mongers who cry "spies among us,"  terrorists" "China,"  "Iran," etc. and the trillion dollar annual national security expenditures & occasional war they justify with their fears do keep me up at night.

    They are guilty of "infiltrating our society?"  I thought that was what was supposed to happen in a melting pot.  

    Here's a good piece of advice:  any US government pronouncement regarding spies, terrorists, foreign threats and the like ought to be viewed with the healthiest dose of skepticism one can muster.  Our national security apparatus has over the decades demonstrated time and again its tendency to misrepresent facts and events and keep its eye on the wrong ball.


    Have you also visited the sound stage where (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 02:05:02 PM EST
    the filmed the lunar landing?

    And no. We are a "country." That means you are supposed to be a citizen or have permission to be here.  


    I'm sort of with you Bob (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:24:42 PM EST
    I heard we have a NeoCon mole around here too.  There is a rumor that someone hangs out around here and attempts to work their way into our culture and society around here and thereby  influence us in rightwing ways :)

    I wish them luck (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:46:04 PM EST
    IN my case they have zero chance of influencing my adoption of rightwing insanity.  Thirty years of Reagan, Bushes, and Democratic Reagan wannabes has amply demonstrated the clear and ever present danger of the American Right.

    MT, you been paying attention (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 02:06:04 PM EST
    to Jondee.



    Well whoever this mole is (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 02:54:16 PM EST
    I hope Jondee knows I've never really needed outside influences to get myself into plenty of questioning the authorities that be trouble.

    I just wish (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:08:58 AM EST
    they still did it on the Bridge of Spies

    Swap and be done with it! (none / 0) (#3)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:41:33 AM EST
    Bridge of Spies was during the Cold War and things may have been quite different then.

    However, perhaps Peraez (spel ?) could be swapped for JVdS!  {Just a thought!}

    (Off-topic;  Capt Howdy
    Big Dog has heart worms (just got the blood result) - remember he is a rescue dog I just adopted - any experience, being a foster caregiver for dogs, as to whether treatment is successful?)


    I have some on this (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:22:36 PM EST
    Heartworm is a terrible problem down here.  If someone doesn't preventive treat and six months goes by in the heat, you probably have heartworm.  It depends on how bad the infestation is.  If it is extreme and the dog is older and a lot of damage has been done, there have been a few times down here that treatment has not been advised and to put the poor dog down.  If it is still early though and/or the dog is young, I would treat.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#18)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 02:58:09 PM EST
    He is about seven - but I love him!

    If you love him do it (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:14:35 PM EST
    It is hard to predict how bad the infection is.  Dogs are like people, they are very individual on health issues.  They have gotten better in treating this.  He may have to be carefully watched, the fear is that when the worms die (if he has adult heartworms) they can become dislodged before the body breaks them down and then clog blood vessels and arteries causing a stroke like health problem.  If there are not adult heartworms yet, the treatment is much more simple and not much more risky than when the dogs take preventative.

    Thank you very much (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 09:33:53 AM EST
    Have an appointment this week and will have to decide between two methods of treatment, one is very expensive - but probably the best.  Thanks again, will let you know the progress (have to stay positive!)  

    no experience at all (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 01:42:55 PM EST
    thank god.  good luck to you and big doggie.

    Come on now Jeralyn. A deal is just tthat. A dea (none / 0) (#12)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:49:22 PM EST
    Jeralyn, the accused spies know what they did.  If they think going to court will be better for them, then you have to agree they can choose that.  

    The US Govt is just offering them a deal that they can accept or not.  It is like a poker game.  If you think you got the cards, then play on.  Otherwise cut your losses.

    As for dirty laundry, that is kind of much to swallow.  I think that it is more like Russia saying we have one of yours that has already done serious time that is probably worth those 10 of ours, and the US saying, "Well heck you are probably right.  Let's make a deal!"

    You know better the legal stuff than I, but I would assume that getting the spies to plead guilty just avoids any future problems for the justice systems in our country, and the political systems in Russia.

    Ms. Pelaez should just start studying the Russian language if she doesn't already know it.

    As for the children, well thus far US law says that they go with the parents.  Remember that kid from Cuba!

    Justice as poker (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 01:21:04 PM EST
    ante up your liberty and take your chances against the House.  Monte Hall justice.  You can be sent to Russia or, if you want a trial, the House (Govt) will seek the maximum penalty available just for putting it through the trouble of having exercised your Constitutional rights.  And maybe we drag one or two of your loved ones into it as well.

    Amazing how our adversarial system designed to discover truth has devolved into the inquisitorial system the Framer's so abhorred.  Prosecutors have become judge and jury, maybe we ought to pay them more for the added work.  So long as they continue to "efficiently" dispose of cases (plea barganing) the politicians can continue to rail "there ought to be a law against that" and then enact laws.  Which then requires evermore more efficient disposition of ever increasing number of offenders. And round and round we go.  If there were no plea bargaining then we as a society would be forced to think about those offenses which are worth the allocation of scarce criminal justice resources.  

    Do you seriously believe accused persons admit only to that which they know they did?  Jails are full of people who are guilty of nothing more than taking what Monte was holding in his hand rather than face what was threatened to be behind the Government's curtain.

    A criminal law professor in law school estimated that 70-80% of accused people are guilty of what they've been accused.  In an unrelated discussion on another day the same professor said over 90% of criminal cases are plea bargained.  There are what, 1.5-3 million people incarcerated in the US?  Do the arithmetic.


    In the case (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 04:42:04 PM EST
    Of "that kid from Cuba" - he wasn't an American citizen, nor were ant of his immediate family.  In this case, these kids were born here and are citizens.

    Apples and oranges.


    German media reports on the personalities (none / 0) (#20)
    by scribe on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 08:54:03 PM EST
    in the proposed swap.  In short, we're getting 4 people convicted of spying for us out of Russian prisons and the Russians are getting their 10 spies back.

    From the Suddeutsche Zeitung of Munich:

    [A rumor has been floated about a trade.] The source of this rumor was Anna Stavitskaya, the lawyer for the Russian acaemic Igor Sutyagin.  Sutyagin has sat since 2004 in a Russian prison after being convcted of treason and espionage.  On Thursday multiple news agencies reported he is supposed to be freed and flown to Vienna.

    [Die Quelle für das Gerücht war Anna Stawitskaja, die Anwältin des russischen Wissenschaftlers Igor Sutjagin. Sutjagin saß seit 2004 in einem russischen Gefängnis, weil ihm Verrat und Spionage vorgeworfen werden. Am Donnerstag nun soll er übereinstimmenden Agenturberichten zufolge freigelassen und nach Wien ausgeflogen worden sein.]

    * * *

    In addition to the physicist Sutyagin there are three other agents in the discussion:  Alexander Saporoschskiy, a former secret agent who was sentenced to 18 years in prison;  Alexander Sypatschov, who was sentenced to 8 yeas in prison in 2002 for spying for the CIA;  and Sergei Skripal, formerly an agent for the Soviet military intelligence agency GRU, who spied for Great Britain, was sentenced to 13 years in prison and, in Russian secret service circles is considered as a "superagent".  There are no Americans convicted of spying [against Russia] and in Russian prisons.

    [Neben dem Physiker Sutjagin sind wohl noch drei weitere Ex-Agenten im Gespräch: Alexander Saporoschskij, ein ehemaliger Geheimagent, der nach einem Amerika-Aufenthalt in Russland zu 18 Jahren verurteilt wurde, Alexander Sypatschow, der wegen Spionage für die CIA 2002 acht Jahre Gefängnis bekam, sowie Sergej Skripal, ebenfalls ein Ex-Agent des Militärnachrichtendienstes GRU, der für Großbritannien spioniert hat, zu 13 Jahren Haft verurteilt wurde und in russischen Geheimdienstkreisen als Superagent gilt. Amerikaner, die in Russland wegen Spionage verurteilt wurden, finden sich in russischen Gefängnissen übrigens nicht.]

    The article goes on to note that the Sutyagin was widely considered to have been charged and convicted by the Russian domestic security services when the were in a panic and needed a big bust to justify their continued existence.

    As to the kids:  I have no answer.  The ones born here would be, of course, US citizens but, as minors, their parents would be able to determine their domicile.  I have no doubt it will be difficult, but I can't give a better answer than that.