May 25th, 2013
11:52 AM ET

Analyst: Russia wants U.S. ties to cool

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Matthew Dunn, a field operative in MI6 and now the author of The Spy Catcher novels and Edward Lucas, the international editor of The Economist, about the recent expulsion from Russia of a U.S. diplomat.

So, Matthew, the wig, the cash – do spies really move around like this? The whole thing seems unbelievable.

Dunn: Yes, they do. I mean when I was deployed overseas, I've used wigs. Some props that were found, admittedly, in the case of Fogle, when they're laid out on a table it can look quite amateurish and somewhat bizarre.

But they are the props of the trade, and typically they work 99.9 percent of the time.

You've also written a book on Russia. So is there something interesting about this story, about it being Russia? I mean are we just playing out the Cold War or is there a particular reason this is happening in Russia?

Lucas: Well, I think the really interesting thing about this is not that America spies on Russia, it's not that the CIA has offices at the American Embassy in Moscow.  It's not that they try and recruit Russians. That's their job. It’s not even that surprising they get caught, because espionage is about taking risks. And when something works, it looks brilliant. When it goes wrong, it always looks like a terrible bungle.

What's really surprising about this is the fuss the Russians made about it. They didn’t need to go down this public humiliation route. They named the CIA station chief in Moscow. That’s a really big breach of diplomatic protocol. They had this public humiliation on television, which looked like something out of the Cold War.

I remember when Michael Sellers, a CIA guy in Moscow in 1986, was caught.  And he was paraded in just the same way, also with the wigs in hand.

This shows to me that the temperature is dropping sharply in American-Russian relations. And it’s dropping sharply because Russia wants it to drop. They need this anti-Western narrative because it's something they feed to their own people.

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Topics: GPS Show • Russia

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Stesh

    omg shut up

    May 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  2. Michael (from Boston)

    This has been pretty obvious since shortly after Putin took over.

    May 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Reply
    • stop this

      Could you pick someone other than these two Russophobes? MI6 has been murdering good people since before the KGB, the NKVD, and the Cheka ever existed.

      As for relations between the countries, a little introspection is necessary rather than blaming the "government propaganda" cliche. You may have warm relations and alliances with Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, but it doesn't change that fact that the people there despise you. Russian relations may have seemed warm under Yeltsin, but that is where the opinion of the West started to fall like a stone (particularly during the Kosovo war). By all means, Fareed, continue being stupid and miscalculating.

      May 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
      • dave

        Fareed is earning a pay check to continue feeding himself and his family!? Best analysis of news or reporting money can buy!?

        May 29, 2013 at 1:00 am |
  3. JAL

    Fareed, why are you in London? I will hopefully get an answer when I tune in Sunday.

    May 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  4. 100 % ETHIO

    Better to replace the word spy with expert. It may also sound ...

    May 26, 2013 at 1:29 am | Reply
  5. j. von hettlingen

    It was a Cold War parody.

    May 26, 2013 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      It was meant to convince the Russians of the peril the country faces.

      May 26, 2013 at 11:17 am | Reply
  6. Svyato

    It looks just fine if you understand what they just did. As parody goes on it is and will be a work of people. They were amazed that it was cold war routine :), and they hope that west showed something new. Any job like something new. Also this could be a good moment to cool of couse...

    May 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  7. Ryan

    Russia, and the Soviet Union at large, embraced western-styled government and economics under Yelstin, and it was a spectacular failure for the majority of the Soviet people. The economic integration of former Soviet states disintegrated, political violence erupted, social services such as healthcare and education deteriorated, and the standard of living for the majority of Russians, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Ukrainians, Tajiks, Belorussians, Kyrgyzs, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, and Turkmen has deteriorated rapidly.

    Russians have many good reasons to dislike the United States. We have (and continue to) undermine their government and their national integrity through espionage and economics, and have contributed to the socioeconomic fiasco that is the disunity of former Soviet states.

    Even without the government parading a US spy around, Russian-US Relations have been very, very cold for quite a while.

    May 28, 2013 at 12:48 am | Reply
  8. Alex

    Whether they feed this to their people or not, US is providing Russia and the rest of the world plenty of material for which to hate Americans.

    US can't point to Russia and say we are the better guys in comparison, those days are gone and the USSR is no more.

    Furthermore US has taken over that mantle and oddly enough ran with it lol. I mean the illegal invasion of Iraq alone will leave a stain on US reputation for decades to come. And the list goes on and on, sometimes I get the feeling like US is completely insulated in a bubble; and the media is directly responsible for this.

    May 28, 2013 at 5:20 am | Reply
    • Pssst

      There is no such thing as an "Illegal War".

      May 28, 2013 at 9:30 am | Reply
  9. 2011Eyes

    Could you please let your readers know what is going on with most of the comment sections that are not available for view? Are you denying readers the right to make comments (as in free speech rights)? Don't ignore your readers, explain what's going on.

    May 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  10. dave

    Fareed is joke!? Reminds me of the looked down tale of uncle Tom!? Fareed is only good at pleasing his Zi o ni sts baby & women killer, racist, warmonger, occupier bosses and in the process is selling any Journalism dignity he never had since his days at Newsweek!? A good poodle!?

    May 29, 2013 at 1:06 am | Reply
  11. Andrey

    "...This shows to me that the temperature is dropping sharply in American-Russian relations. " You must be kidding! What about Russia kicking out USAID before that? Or what about that terrible mess with claiming Putin had to go for some manipulations to win in the last presidential elections! Or what about that P Riot propaganda campaign! American-Russian relations are pretty much in free fall after being "rebooted" by present American administration. I guess that was their intention from the start: because they did everything they could to achieve it!

    May 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      P.S. And what about installation of new American rockets in Europe: I guess that was that loud noise that have started the avalanche? How is it going now?

      May 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  12. Christ

    Russia is not all bad. It is one potentialy very large market for USA companies, and should become new USA business alliance and be placed before China or S.Korea – USA should not trust China, and not S.Korea.

    May 30, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply

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