U.S. and Russia Hold Spy Swap

July 9th, 2010 at 12:00 pm | No Comments |

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The New York Times reports that Russia and the U.S. have conducted a Cold-War style spy swap in Vienna:

VIENNA — In a seeming flashback to the cold war, generic Russian and American officials traded prisoners in the bright sunlight on the tarmac of Vienna’s international airport on Friday, view bringing to a quick end an episode that had threatened to disrupt relations between the countries.

Planes carrying 10 convicted Russian sleeper agents and 4 men accused by Moscow of spying for the West swooped into the Austrian capital, once a hub of clandestine East-West maneuvering, and the men and women were transferred, the Justice Department said. The planes soon took off again in a coda fitting of an espionage novel.

The first sign that the exchange — one of the biggest in over two decades — was under way came as a Vision Airlines jet carrying the Russian agents deported from the United States touched down and taxied to park only a matter of yards from the Russian plane from Moscow’s Emergencies Ministry. For a while the only sign of movement was an unidentified emissary shuttling between the airplanes.

Then, more than an hour later, with little fanfare and no formal announcement from either side, the Russian-flagged plane took off into clear blue skies, closely followed by the American airplane. News reports on Friday said that the American plane had landed at a British military base in central England and later that the Russian plane had arrived in Moscow.

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