Cloak & Dagger

Ryan Fogle, Anna Chapman, the Rosenbergs & More Spy Scandals (PHOTOS)

See how Ryan Fogle, arrested in Moscow, stacks up against Anna Chapman, the Rosenbergs, and more.

AP (3)

AP (3)

The Russian Federal Security Service claims to have caught red-handed an undercover CIA agent posing as a U.S. Embassy employee. The story may sound like something out of a 1950s spy novel, but Ryan Fogle’s arrest serves as a reminder that U.S. and Russian espionage has continued in the decades since the Cold War. Of course, Russia isn’t the only country we spy on—or that spies on us. From Jonathan Pollard to Anna Chapman, see some of the more famous and fascinating alleged spies in modern history.


Ryan Fogle

Ryan Fogle, an American working at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was arrested Monday night and accused of attempting to recruit a Russian counterterrorism officer. According to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Fogle is an undercover CIA agent posing as a third secretary in the embassy’s political department. The FSB claims that when officers apprehended Fogle, he was wearing a blond wig and carrying with him a spy kit containing other disguises, a stack of euros, and a letter to the Russian special services agent he allegedly was trying to recruit. The U.S. Embassy has yet to comment on the arrest, but it is noteworthy that Fogle’s would-be recruit specializes in counterterrorism for the Caucasus, the restive southern region of Russia that includes Chechnya and Dagestan. The Caucasus has been the focus of U.S. investigators’ attention lately; they’ve been working with the Russian government to figure out whether Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev made contact with Islamist militants during a six-month trip to Dagestan.

Karl DeBlaker/AP

Jonathan Pollard

Ever since American Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, Israelis have petitioned U.S. presidents to pardon him for his crime of feeding thousands of pages of U.S. intelligence to the Israeli government while working as a civilian officer on military and technical intelligence for the U.S. Navy. Pollard, now 58, was born in Texas but always had a much stronger allegiance to Israel than the United States. Throughout his childhood in South Bend, Indiana, Pollard’s Jewish parents made sure to teach the family about the atrocities of the Holocaust, which killed 70 of their relatives, and instilled in them a love of the Jewish homeland. Frequently bullied, Pollard admired Israel as a place where Jews like himself could be “normal.” While in college at Stanford, he regaled his fellow students with fabricated stories about working undercover for the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, and holding a high rank in the Israel Defense Forces. Pollard got a job with the Navy as an intelligence research specialist in 1979. Over the next few years he gained access to classified information and became frustrated that the U.S. was not sharing enough pertinent intelligence with Israel. In June 1984 he began officially spying for Israel. Pollard’s supporters argue that his spying didn’t harm national security but helped one of the U.S.’s closest allies and note that in 1997, he publicly apologized for his crimes. Ahead of President Obama’s visit to Israel in March, he told an Israeli news station: “I have no plans for releasing Jonathan Pollard immediately, but what I am going to be doing is to make sure that he, like every other American who has been sentenced, is accorded the same kinds of review and the same examination of the equities that any other individual would provide.”


Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Whether Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were spies has remained a great mystery decades after they were executed for espionage in 1953. In 1950 the couple found themselves at the center of anti-communist hysteria, arrested for leading leading a spy ring that leaked top-secret information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. In 1951 the couple was sentenced to death, and despite a worldwide outcry in their defense, the Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953, at Sing Sing Prison in New York—maintaining their innocence until the end. In 2008 at age 91, Morton Sobell, who was tried and convicted alongside the Rosenbergs and served more than 18 years in several federal prisons, including Alcatraz, finally confessed to being a Soviet spy. He also implicated his friend Julius Rosenberg, insisting that Ethel may have been aware of her husband’s espionage, but was not involved. “She knew what he was doing,” Sobell told The New York Times. “But what was she guilty of? Of being Julius’s wife.”


Robert Hanssen

In February 2001 former FBI agent Robert Hanssen was dropping off a package filled with classified information to be picked up by his Russian handlers when he was arrested and charged with exchanging classified U.S. intelligence to the Russians in exchange for more than $1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a period of 22 years. In a plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in 2002, Hanssen said: “I apologize for my behavior. I am ashamed by it. Beyond its illegality, I have torn the trust of so many. Worse, I have opened the door for calumny against my totally innocent wife and our children. I have hurt them deeply. I have hurt so many deeply.” He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and has been at a federal penitentiary in Colorado ever since.


Earl Edwin Pitts

The FBI was already on to agent Earl Edwin Pitts’s espionage activities in 1996 when his wife, who also worked in the bureau as a support clerk, reported her suspicions that her husband might have been selling U.S. intelligence to Russia. She was right. Pitts had been making money in exchange for secret U.S. information between 1987 and 1992—before and after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1997 he was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Misha Japaridze/AP

Anna Chapman

Compared with the other spies caught by the FBI and sentenced to life in prison, Anna Chapman got off easy. Just one year after being arrested as part of a Russian spy ring that allegedly got “dangerously close” infiltrating U.S. foreign-policy officials, the now 31-year-old was working as a TV star and lingerie model in Moscow. Despite being described as “a new breed of illegal operative” for her tech savvy and ability to acclimate easily in foreign societies, Chapman and her team of nine other spies were sent back to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange in 2010.

Peter Cowie/AP

Boris Yuzhin

Boris Yuzhin was sent by the Soviet Union to San Francisco in 1975. Though he was supposed to monitor student activities on behalf of the KGB, he almost immediately felt at home in the U.S. and began questioning his own government’s policies. Three years after arriving in the States, Yuzhin switched sides, providing the FBI information on his KGB associates and their California program. Though he managed to escape being caught a number of times—once he was almost busted when an employee at the Soviet Consulate attempted to use his camera disguised as a cigarette lighter—Yuzhin’s cover was ultimately blown in 1986 by CIA officer turned KGB spy Aldrich Ames. Somehow, Yuzhin managed to avoid the typical Soviet sentence of execution for traitors and served only six years in a Siberian prison before moving to Santa Rosa, California.

Denis Paquin/AP

Aldrich Ames

Speaking of Aldrich Ames, this double agent was arrested in 1994 and accused of spying for the Russians since 1985. Ames’s 31-year career at the CIA was contentious from the start, beginning with his father setting him up with a part-time gig at the agency while studying at George Washington University in 1959, creating a sense of resentment from his colleagues that was not helped by his less-than-stellar performance as a case officer. He failed repeatedly at recruiting agents and was frequently reassigned and passed over for promotions, all of which fueled his drinking habit. Ames’s wife, Rosario, the daughter of a former Colombian senator whom he met while on assignment in Mexico City, also was arrested in 1994 for aiding and abetting her husband’s activities. Ames was sentenced to life in prison without parole, while Rosario received 63 months.


Harold J. Nicholson

Aldrich Ames’s takedown made a huge splash, and several other Russian spies were revealed in its wake, including Harold James Nicholson. The former CIA agent was convicted in 1997 for providing the Russian Federation’s intelligence service with valuable national defense information in exchange for $300,000. He was sentenced to 23 years and seven months in prison. But Nicholson’s story doesn’t end there. As he served out his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Oregon, Nicholson stewed over money he felt his Russian handlers still owed him for the intelligence he’d provided—a pension, if you will. Finding it tough to give up the spy game even after he was caught, Nicholson also felt he had information the Russians would appreciate. So he enlisted the help of his son Nathaniel, who took several trips overseas, delivered information to Russian intelligence officials from his father, and collected money on his behalf. The father-and-son espionage duo were charged in 2009 with conspiracy, posing as an agent of a foreign government, and money laundering. Nathaniel was sentenced to five years’ probation and 100 hours of community service. His father got eight more years tacked onto his 23-year sentence.


Lona Cohen, a.k.a. Helen Kroger

American Lona Cohen also known as Helen Kroger, was living in New York when she and her husband, Morris (or Peter Kroger), were recruited by Soviet intelligence to become spies. In 1945 Cohen reportedly received from notorious spy Theodore Hall a “Kleenex box” containing blueprints for the atomic bomb. In 1951 the Cohens moved to Moscow when their cover was blown, but only four years later they moved to U.K. for a spying mission and were arrested in 1961. Lona was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but in 1969 was released and returned to Moscow in a prisoner exchange.