Just last week President Obama visited with his old buddy, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev at the White House. In an overt effort to demonstrate how he had single-handedly "repaired" the relationship between Russia and the United States, President Obama took the Russian leader out for lunch to a Washington, D.C.-area suburban hamburger joint. The whole event was overly staged and awkward.
What a difference a week makes.
This week it was announced an alleged Russian spy ring had had been caught "red-handed" here in the United States. The ring is accused of operating for years in "deep cover" here in America.
The 10 who were arrested were operating throughout the United States and used tried and true Cold War techniques in their mission, including -- but not limited to -- sending messages in invisible ink, using Morse code, and brush passes.
The alleged spies are charged with working for Russian military intelligence also known as the SVR. Their mission is still to be fully detailed; however the FBI says they sought to establish ties with congressional aides and scientists who work on nuclear weapons development.
Our government intercepted a message from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow to two of those arrested. "You were sent to USA for long-term service trip," the message from Moscow. "Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. -- all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e. to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in U.S. and send intels..." the message added.
How is it possible that the White House, the National Security Council, our intelligence services and U.S. Justice Department let the president play host to Russia's president within less than a week of these arrests?
Surely the F.B.I. was planning these arrests for some time. The whole purpose behind the meeting with the Russian leader was to show how close and friendly the relationship between Russia and the U.S. has become since Obama took office.
Although the White House claims it was aware of the investigation and the impending arrests, I do not buy it for a second. I believe there was a lack of coordination which made the president look foolish and his administration yet again appear incompetent. -- It is clear the left hand does not know what the other left hand is doing.
The president should have never been allowed to meet the Russian President on the eve of a major Russian spy ring being busted. President Obama's fawning behavior toward Russian President Medvedev was made to look even more strange if the president really knew what he said he knew about the whole affair. The Russians must have come away thinking what a dupe Obama is.
Behind closed doors, the president and his administration have got to being seeing "red" over this clear foreign policy and national security blunder.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum.
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Former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush