It might seem a strange thing to say in a week when the FBI cracked down on a spy ring, but as The New York Times (NYT) put it, “The Russian spy ring...had everything it needed for world-class espionage... The only thing missing...: actual secrets to send to Moscow.” Indeed, the information age may mean that intelligence gatherers are better off surfing the Net for information, or, at worst, hacking computers from afar. Spy rings and spies may still be required when information is needed on opaque regimes, but drones and spy satellites can do even that better than Mr Bond. So what explains Russia’s ring?
The answer could be hubris, because as a former CIA official put it to NYT, “What in the world do they think they were going to get out of this, in this day and age?” That may explain why none of the 11 accused in the US case faces charges of espionage.