If you ever get an offer like Anna Chapman did to spy on another country for money, just make sure you'd be okay with living in that country someday. Chapman, the sexy 28-year-old Russian spy arrested in a spy ring for trying to steal trade secrets, and nine other co-spies may be deported instead of facing trial in a prisoner exchange reminiscent of the Cold War era.
I'm sure parts of Russia are beautiful, but Anna Chapman seemed to have adapted to her American lifestyle quite well. I wonder what she thinks about the possibility of never returning to her extravagant Western lifestyle. She lived in a swanky Manhattan apartment and raked in the big bucks running her online real estate business in between her stint as Bond Girl.
Rumors of a prisoner exchange began circulating yesterday, though both American and Russian officials haven't confirmed it. According to The New York Times, the 10 Russian spies will be exchanged for a number of people currently imprisoned in Russia, among them Russian scientist Igor V. Sutyagin, who has served 10 of a 14-year espionage sentence. No American spies are serving sentences right now.
Sutyagin had always claimed he was innocent of the charges and became the center of a huge human rights campaign to free him. But as part of the exchange, Sutyagin had to sign a confession of his guilt. He'll also have to leave Russia, something he does not want to do, as all his family are there, but that's one of the many risks you sign up for when you become a spy ... or admit to being one.
According to The New York Times, some other possible exchangees being bantered around include:
- Sergei Skripal, a colonel in Russian military intelligence who was sentenced in 2006 to 13 years for spying for Britain;
- Aleksandr Zaporozhsky, a former agent with Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service who has served 7 years of an 18-year sentence for espionage;
- Aleksandr Sypachev, who was sentenced to eight years in 2002 for spying for the CIA;
- Physicist Valentin Danilov, who was sentenced to 14 years for transferring secrets to China;
- Space scholar Igor Reshetin, serving an 11 1/2-year sentence on similar charges.
The 10 people (there was an 11th, but he fled to Cyprus after posting bail) were not charged with espionage because they didn't trade anything really juicy or dangerous. Some of the stolen information included details on nuclear weapon development, U.S. policies on the use of the Internet by terrorists, and goods on the new CIA leader and the 2008 Presidential election.
In addition to all the men that have been drooling over Chapman's pictures on the web and on her Facebook page the last week, other people will be disappointed that the spies, including several middle-aged married couples living in Boston, New Jersey, and Virginia, don't serve hard jail time. Those include the federal agents that spent a decade following their activities and some politicians who claim the Obama administration is being too soft on Russia.
And I can only imagine how bummed all the Hollywood producers and literary agents must be at the speculation. This story is just begging for a book or movie deal, and a big federal trial in Manhattan court makes for a much more dramatic ending than simply sending a dozen people home on a plane.