MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ
The New York Times
October 19, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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Russian sleeper agents, arrested in the United States this summer and deported to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange, received top government honors from President Dmitri A. Medvedev on Monday.

“Intelligence agents who worked in the United States and returned to Russia in July” were among staff members from Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service to receive awards at a Kremlin ceremony, Natalya Timakova, the president’s spokeswoman, told Russian news media. She would not say which awards were given out or whether all 10 of those arrested this summer were among the recipients.

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The agents, who were arrested in the suburbs of New York, Boston and Northern Virginia, have been widely lampooned in the West as bumbling caricatures of a bygone era. For over a decade they used false names, invisible ink and other vestiges of the cloak-and-dagger era to gain access to the type of information more easily downloaded from the Internet. In the end they were not even charged with espionage.

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