Moscow publishes names of alleged British spies

Russian TV named the alleged British spies employed as diplomats in Moscow after showing footage of how they retrieved data to a palm-top computer from a transmitter planted in a fake rock on a Moscow street.
A Russian national with them is under arrest.
The FSB accused London of regular payments to non-government organizations to help them destabilize the Russian government on the lines of the revolutions in Georgia and the Ukraine.
The British diplomats named are Christopher Pirt, Paul Crompton, Andrew Fleming and Marc Doe, the second secretary of the British embassy’s political department. An FSB agent said on the program that the NGO allocations were channeled through Doe.
In its response, the Foreign Office does not refer to the spying charge but voices “concern and surprise” about the charges of improper British funding for the NGOs. The statement says: the UK openly supports Russian NGOs promoting human rights for the sake of developing a healthy civil society in Russia.
debkafile comments: While new Kremlin legislation against NGOs and other political issues between Moscow and London are certainly in the air, most intelligence issues have a dynamic all their own. This affair with strong Cold War overtones presents more than one enigma, such as the date when the Russian TV camera caught the British diplomat-spies in red-handed communion with a rock and the timing now of the film`s release.
Moscow may have rolled up a Russian network spying for the UK and is pouring salt on British wounds by demonstrating that their fake rock was nourished with fake intelligence. Or the Russians may be fed up with British intelligence operations in Russia, Chechnya and former satellites like the Ukraine and Central Asian republics, and so decided to punish them and deter Russians from hiring out their services. The British prime minister Tony Blair refused to comment on the spy story Monday, the day it was exposed. Espionage affairs customarily take time to unravel and often they never do.

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