US authorities said on Monday they had charged 11 people with crimes including conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of Russia and money laundering.
In an operation that apparently started back in the 90's, a group of Russian undercover agents embedded themselves deep into the American society.
Some lived in the fast hip cities, while others dwelled quietly in the suburbs. Some even became naturalised US citizens.
In a country of immigrants, they went unnoticed but now they are the talk of the US and the headlines of Russia.
Moscow says they were not acting against US interests but how will the arrests affect relations between the two world former foes? And with no espionage charges made, what is the defining line between information gathering and spying?
Joining the programme are Evan Perez, a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, Sergey Strokan, a political analyst and commentator, and Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB-agent, from the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI centre).
This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, June 30, 2010.
Source: Al Jazeera