Monday, July 5, 2010
Spies under cover
Your idea of a spy, if you thought about it a minute, would probably include keeping a low profile.
Irony meet Anna Chapman.
Yes, on a day when a hot dog champion's arrested for trespassing at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Championship, when a record-breaking sale of a jam made with Princess Di's hair is pretty close to the top headline, I'm still pondering Anna Chapman.
Maybe it's the pictures.
Well, truth be told: explaining the weaknesses of Wall Street reform in present legistlation or pondering prayer as a logical response while the ship "A Whale" arrives in the Gulf to siphon oil or even trying to envision the American strategy in Afghanistan---much less the looming background threat of Social Security's great imbalance---all these things make the majority of people feel a bit helpless. As though we are spectators to great change amidst days when the average American worker can't take basic economic security for granted. It's not abstract.
But a Soviet spy scandal that seems to amount to nothing? It's like real-life inspiring a sit-com.
There's more than a hint of romance to the situation, too. On a Facebook interview, "Anna Chapman" noted:
"America is a free country. Over here, it is easy to meet successful people. In Moscow, it is practically impossible because you have to be as successful as they are . . . here you can meet successful people on the street and go have dinner with them."
According to the New York Post:
"Anna Chapman" sidled up to power players while hobnobbing at society functions, charity events and book openings in slinky designer outfits. It was her apparent way of collecting information to send back to her native Russia -- but she also enjoyed going out clubbing, blogging and seeing the sights.
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I don't think it seems very open to most people; but here's a person with the drive, taking advantage of Free Society. It does sound a bit "gold-digger", sure. But isn't it interesting that she fully embraces all things Big Apple?
There may be more to this story in the long run. It's strange how little paranoia seems manifest, especially compared to any similar incursion say, three decades ago. In fact, never before has any one with a secret identity had more opportunity to expose the details of their life...nor has anyone accused of being a spy ever done so with such gusto. Obviously, it beggars the seriousness of their mission in the first place. Its existence in the first place speaks of the old KGB way, duplicity and suspicion conducted as a competitive art.
Apparently she found something better to do?
I will say this. I thought it was pretty sleezy when I first heard her ex had released her topless photos. Reading the interview, it sounds like they had an awful lot of fun. And maybe her stab at upward mobility seemed to be at the cost of any genuine emotional relationship, as she started dating various bankers and financiers before they divorced. By his account, a couple of years into their relationship she exhibited numerous right-wing opinions and found expensive gifts to her taste. If she found her seductions necessary or particularly exciting for their clandestine aspect, she's not terribly different than a lot of people of a sort you may know.
I don't wish to belittle her by suggesting she didn't understand the severity of her actions; not being serious about a thing and its consequences is a problem, too, as she is finding out.
Update: the Russians and Americans have agreed to a spy exchange. All ten Russian spies have plead guilty and been sentenced to time served. I rather suspect the now-deported "Anna Chapman" will miss these shores very much in years to come.