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Paul Whelan expected some holiday snaps during a Moscow hotel meetup. What he got was a thumb drive full of purportedly classified data and an extended stay at Moscow’s most notorious prison. His Russian lawyer is talking and revealing a little bit more about the espionage case against the former U.S. Marine—but not much. Even if Moscow does show a little more leg on the case against Whelan, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical.
Changes his tune: When we last heard from Vladimir Zherebenkov, Whelan’s (likely government-appointed) attorney, he was praising the work of the Federal Security Service, Russia’s domestic security and intelligence agency. “They are professionals of a very high level,” he told The Daily Beast earlier this month. “The FSB must have collected and double-checked their evidence against Whelan before they arrested and accused him; they must have been following him for a while.” Compare those comments to an interview he gave Tuesday in which he admitted that “there are many weak places in the investigation” and that he’ll be sifting through “recordings” for signs of misleading editing.