Cambridge pair accused of being Russian spies
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Federal agents arrested two people accused of being Russian secret agents in Cambridge as part of major sting operation.
Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley are among 10 alleged Russian intelligence officers arrested for spying in the United States. The Boston suspects appeared in federal court on Monday.
Eight of the 10 arrested are accused of carrying out a long-term, deep cover assignment in the U.S. on behalf of Russia. Suspects were also arrested in New Jersey, New York and Virginia. (READ: PROFILES OF SUSPECTS)
Heathfield and Foley, who had been living together as a married couple, are accused of spying for the Russian government. The pair pretended to be Canadians who had become nationalized U.S. citizens, living with their 16- and 20-year-old sons.
Foley had been working as a real estate agent in the Boston area. According to the Associated Press, she claimed to have once owned a travel agency in Cambridge and previously worked as a human resources officer in Canada.
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Court documents reveal the couple used shortwave radio messages, notes in invisible ink and secret codes buried in public websites to communicate with Moscow. The suspects were said to be in the country for at least a decade, trying to steal nuclear secrets. They were also reportedly told to make contacts with U.S. officials, gather information and report back to Moscow.
The court documents do not reveal whether authorities believe the couple passed on any valuable information. (VIEW: FBI AFFIDAVIT RELATED TO THE CASE)
Agents allegedly taped the couple burying money from the Russian government, sometimes as much as $40,000. Agents have apparently recovered the money.
In a 2006 search of the couple's Boston area home, investigators say they found deleted drafts of messages later sent to Moscow. Heathfield's Canadian birth certificate, which actually belongs to a dead man, was found in a safe deposit box, according to investigators. They also discovered negatives of Foley in her 20's shot on Soviet film stock.
Foley's lawyer, Robert Sincheimer, says she doesn't look like a spy.
"It appears to me she is who she says she is, which is a Canadian national with two lovely kids, who have grown up in Cambridge. They seem to be good American citizens," said Sincheimer.
Heathfield was laughing in court, while Foley was more subdued, according to 7NEWS sources.
Neighbors said they couldn't believe the government's accusations of spies next door.
"She was very friendly. Really, if anybody could become Americanized, she seemed that way," said Lila Hexner, a neighbor.
The two are being held at an undisclosed location. They are due back in court Thursday.
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