Ten people — allegedly secret agents — were arrested in four states on Sunday, following a "multi-year investigation conducted by the FBI; the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York; and the Counterespionage Section and the Office of Intelligence within the Justice Department's National Security Division, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced earlier today.
In total, 11 defendants, including the 10 arrested, are charged in two separate criminal complaints with conspiring to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States.
According to Pete Yost, reporting for the Associated Press, "eight of 10 were arrested Sunday for allegedly carrying out long-term, deep cover assignments in the United States on behalf of Russia."
Two others were arrested for allegedly participating in the same Russian intelligence program within the United States.
Charlie Savage, a reporter for The New York Times, says the criminal complaints (see below) "read like a thriller: secret Russian agents assigned to live as married couples in the United States, even having children to further their cover."
Spies swapping identical bags as they pass each other in a stairwell. Invisible writing and codes. Money caches buried for years in a rural field.
On All Things Considered, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston said "it's very unclear whether or not these are actual Americans."
Intelligence sources have told her that there hasn't been any infiltration of sensitive or secret information, but "they were moving in that direction."
"According to my sources, nothing sensitive ever changed hands," Temple-Raston said.
One suspect, known as "Christopher R. Metsos," remains at large. It is unclear if he is in the U.S. or not.
You can read the DOJ's criminal complaints after the jump.