Before arresting a U.S. reporter, Russia suffered setbacks with suspected spies unmasked by Western governments

April 01, 2023

Before it arrested a Wall Street Journal reporter Thursday, Russia suffered a string of embarrassing setbacks to its foreign intelligence operations, with hundreds of suspected Russian spies’ being expelled or charged with espionage in Western countries. The FBI and the CIA have helped allied countries arrest an unusually large number of Russian spies since the war began, a former senior U.S. counterintelligence official familiar with the matter said. The arrests have targeted Russians operating as “illegals” with fictitious names and passports, unlike Russian spies posted to embassies, who enjoy legal protections. “Many countries have robust capabilities to counter Russian intelligence efforts all on their own,” the official said. We just don’t know.”In the past, European authorities often played down cases of suspected spies in public statements.