I don’t have any difficulty in believing that the FBI really have discovered a colony of Russian sleeper spies in the United States.
Spying is an industry. Most of its activity is pointless, counter-productive and misdirected. Those employed in it have the strongest urge to strengthen and perpetuate their own industry. They are, worldwide, shielded from public scrutiny of their efficiency, and it is easy to persuade politicians to dole out more and more funds. Politicians are flattered to see papers marked “Top Secret” and their vanity is stoked by knowing about things happening that the public is not allowed to know about. It gives them a feeling of power.
But the extraordinary question is why the FBI would, after years of surveillance, pull the plug exactly now? A spy ring you have under complete surveillance and whose communications you have decoded is the most valuable asset imaginable. Simply think what could be learnt of Russia’s intentions towards the US from decoded instructions to these agents over the years. Think what “traitors” may have been revealed, with whom agents may have been asked to make contact. Why on earth would this priceless asset be thrown away?
Of course, for the long term future of their industry, spies are heavily dependent on the perception of an “enemy”. Perhaps there was concern that the perception of a viable enemy was slipping, so anti-Russian public and political sentiment needed to be stoked. Spies, of course, are not the only ones whose livelihood depends upon poor relations with an “enemy”. Obama’s pursuit of arms reduction negotiations with Medvedev is worrying the defence industry, Now what might cause domestic political problems for arms reduction negotiations with Russia?