Operation Ghost Stories: Just your average spy… in a coffee shop
What have we got here? Just a pair of ordinary folk having a nice chat in a New York coffee shop.
Of course, one of those ordinary folk just happens to be Anna Chapman, who is currently enjoying her pseudo-celebrity status as if she were in a James Bond film.
The FBI has posted a story on their website about their counter-intelligence operation against the ten Russian spies in 2010, including Chapman. The most intriguing part is the series of “Operation Ghost Stories” videos they’ve published on Youtube.
The image most people have of clandestine spy meetings and counter-intelligence surveillance undoubtedly comes from movies and TV, which is why the FBI videos are a fascinating look at an authentic surveillance operation in action. Russian spies nonchalantly chat in coffee shops, execute brush passes, and use dead drops—all on camera for the FBI.
Here’s a list of the Operation Ghost Stories videos:
- Video 1: Anna Chapman meeting with an undercover agent in a coffee shop.
- Video 2: Anna Chapman waiting in a department store while a Russian government official waits outside.
- Video 3: Richard Murphy and Michael Zottoli meet outside in Brooklyn.
- Video 4: Michael Zottoli uses a dead drop.
- Video 5: Michael Zottoli and Richard Murphy meet at Columbus Circle.
- Video 6: A close-up surveillance video of Zottoli and Murphy meeting in a coffee shop and exchanging a laptop.
- Video 7 & Video 8: Christopher Metsos’s brush pass with a Russian government official. (Note how clunky and obvious the brush passes were in both videos.)
- Video 9: Richard Murphy does a brush pass with a Russian government official in a New York train station. (Again, note how clumsy the pass off of the package is. It is too large to swiftly exchange hands like an envelope or folder, yet they attempt the same kind of movement as if it were. The pass off does not look natural or inconspicuous to a casual observer.)
- Video 10: A Russian spy fills a dead drop in Virginia.