A few things:
• A total of eleven people have been arrested. They led seemingly normal lives in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.
• Their neighbors thought they were average suburbanites, not spies. “‘They couldn’t have been spies. Look what she did with the hydrangeas,’ 15-year-old Jessie Gugig quipped to the New York Times after the arrest of the Murphys.”
• This case is showing the subtly with which the Obama administration is capable of operating. From The Guardian:
[President] Obama was aware of the investigation before he met with the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at the White House last Thursday. The two leaders did not discuss the issue, Gibbs said.
• Obama knew about it, but he and Medvedev had cheeseburgers together one day in Virginia! Mr. Obama certainly is a cool-minded leader if he can pull that off.
• Curiously, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is among those who have said this won’t have a real impact on the course of Russian-American affairs. A writer for The Guardian agrees with that. (It’s my sense, too.)
(Compare this to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s tour of California in 1959, when there was still extensive train service, and Silicon Valley didn’t exist!)
• The FBI announced the arrests a few days after Medvedev returned to Russia. David Hearst argues that this spy scandal is the last thing that Medvedev needs as he seeks to bring Russia more fully into the modern economic systems.
• The good news? The spy ring was busted before it could do any real spying.