Boo who? FBI 'Ghost Stories' starring Russian spies

In an eerily timed release, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has published “troves” of photos and videos relating to what they call Operation Ghost Stories, a decade-long investigation into a group of Russian spies living and working in the US.

­The agency released surveillance videos, including those featuring famous “femme fatale” Anna Chapman.

The spookiest thing about this footage is that it does not contain any actual spooks. And no wonder about that – there were no charges of espionage leveled against those “spies” arrested in the US last June. Instead they pleaded guilty to conspiracy in acting as unlawful agents of a foreign government, acting on American soil.

­The video released by FBI


Everything about the release – the name of the operation, the release on Halloween – speaks of a deliberate act.

Still, the FBI assured that the date of the release of the “Ghost Stories” is purely coincidental.

The footage shows the members of the alleged spy ring doing such things as shopping and using laptops in popular bookstores.

Also the FBI says this operation “Ghost Stories” sends a clear message to any potential foreign spies wanting to operate inside the US.


Vladimir Kremlev for RT (click to enlarge)
Vladimir Kremlev for RT (click to enlarge)

It must be mentioned that all the members of the group exchanged for Russians found guilty of espionage are keeping a low profile after the return back home – except one.

The notorious Anna Chapman is carving a media career for herself, trying out a position as a TV presenter.

Despite the fact that the alleged spies are no longer on US soil, and no charges can be filed against them, the FBI wants to make sure the subject matter is not forgotten. In the videos, viewers can see a montage of surveillance tapes showing covert meetings, exchanges of documents in the subway, hidden cash troves in gardens and much more.

It was, according to the FBI, one of the longest operations in recent history – and one that lets all foreign intelligence agencies know “that espionage threats to the US will not be tolerated.” The term “Cold War” is mentioned quite a lot in the official statement on the FBI’s website – and the infamous “Cambridge Five” are also remembered. Altogether, it paints a very bleak picture: Russia is still the bogeyman, and Halloween is a perfect time to remind everyone of it.

Richard Murphy, Columbus Circle, New York, NY, 6/20/2004 (Photo from vault.fbi.gov) Click to enlarge
Richard Murphy, Columbus Circle, New York, NY, 6/20/2004 (Photo from vault.fbi.gov) Click to enlarge

Why else would the FBI wait for months before releasing this information? The arrests were made in June 2010, and within weeks all those who stood trial were found guilty of being unregistered agents of a foreign government and swapped for four prisoners from Russia. Now, over a year later, the FBI suddenly decides to make its surveillance material public?

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Richard Murphy (left) and Christopher Metsos (right) meet in Queens, NY(Photo from vault.fbi.gov) Click to enlarge
Richard Murphy (left) and Christopher Metsos (right) meet in Queens, NY(Photo from vault.fbi.gov) Click to enlarge