Washington, July 12 (ANI): An anxious June 26 phone call from Russian spy Anna Chapman to her father, Vasily Kushchenko, a KGB veteran working in Moscow's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the Obama administration to hasten the arrests, the next day, of Chapman and nine other "illegals" in the United States.
According to the Washington Post, in the call to Moscow, which was monitored by the United States, Chapman voiced suspicions that she might have been discovered.
Planning had begun in mid-June to arrest four couples, who had been under FBI surveillance for years, including Chapman, and another new Russian "illegal" Mikhail Semenov, who had been in the United States for only months.
FBI wanted Chapman and Semenov to undertake acts, at the suggestion of its informants, which would have enabled them to be indicted for more than just carrying on secret communications with Russian officials.
Chapman's call to Moscow, after a troubling meeting with an FBI informant, came on the eve of a scheduled trip by one of the other Russians, Richard Murphy. He was to leave for Moscow the next day to consult with his superiors at Moscow Center, headquarters of the SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence agency.
The paper also stated that the FBI was aware of Murphy's plans of going first to France and then to Russia. The agency had followed him on a similar trip to Moscow in March. However, the agency feared that the SVR, alerted by Chapman's call, might not allow him to return.
FBI also worried that the SVR could alert the other "illegals" in the US and flee the country or seek shelter in Russian diplomatic missions.
"There were operational concerns that if we did not act at that point, the possibility existed that we would not be able to break up the ring in the totality in the way that we have now," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said. (ANI)