Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 42

Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) accused the FBI February 26 of having violated "an unwritten rule of honor" in its February 23 arrest of Robert Lipka. The former employee of the U.S. National Security Agency was charged with spying for the Soviet Union in the mid-1960s. According to FBI sources, his arrest followed an undercover investigation, launched in 1993, during which an FBI agent posing as a Russian spy tricked Lipka into talking about his past espionage activities. (7) It was this act of deception that appears to have displeased Russia’s SVR. According to an SVR spokeswoman, "Intelligence services maintaining partner-like relations should invariably observe the unwritten rules of honor, including that of not recruiting people under an alien flag… The FBI broke these rules." (8)

Allegations that retired KGB General Oleg Kalugin’s book, "The First Directorate," had provided information leading to Lipka’s arrest were downplayed by another SVR spokesman, who also refused to confirm whether or not Lipka had worked for Moscow. But Yuri Kobaladze did use the occasion to warn former employees of the Soviet secret services, and Russian media, that publishing information about individuals involved in past intelligence operations could be construed as a threat to national security and lead to prosecution for treason. (9)

According to a Russian daily, the SVR has interpreted a spate of recent complaints over Russian intelligence operations as part of a coordinated international campaign to discredit the SVR. (10) Political leaders in Germany, Poland, and the Czech republic have all accused Moscow in recent months of stepping-up operations in their respective countries.

Estonian Orthodox Church Regains Freedom as Moscow Sparks Row in World Orthodoxy