FBI Video of Russian Spy Activity in Arlington

by ARLnow.com November 1, 2011 at 9:22 am 7,633 30 Comments

The FBI has released new video, photos and documents showing the activity of a Russian spy ring in the U.S. One of the videos shows spy activity taking place in Arlington.

Three Arlington residents were among the 10 Russian spies arrested in June 2010 and later deported. In a just-released video, one of the Arlington-based spies is seen making a “dead drop” under a bridge in an Arlington park.

According to court documents, investigators videotaped the drop after Mikhail Semenko was contacted by an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian spy handler on June 26, 2010. The agent gave Semenko an envelope containing $5,000 cash and showed him a map indicating where he was to discretely leave the envelope.

The Arlington park where the drop took place was not identified.

ABC News and the FBI have more information about the other newly-released evidence from the case, dubbed Operation Ghost Stories.

  • Arlingtonian_guru

    That looks like the bridge from the small park/path off of military road…would be a good location…

  • Ben

    Are they technically really spies if the FBI sets them up in a sting operation? Or just wanna be spies?

    • KalashniKEV

      They were certainly spies:

      They were not very productive… at all, and were obviously also playing the Russian government to get as much out of them for as little risk as possible.

  • charlie

    ok, first, proves my theory to call the police when you see anything strange going on.

    second, is that Donaldson Run or Lubber Run??

  • Carl

    It also looks like the bridge in Glencarlyn Park, but that is a very busy spot. In fact it looks like almost all the bridges of Arlington County.

    • drax

      Glencarlyn is my guess too, but it could be alot of them.

      • BeaverPond Resident

        Hopefully, the County’s PR person Thes will let us know which park it is. Thes? We know you are monitoring ArlNow for your work.

  • MikeInShirlington

    Wow, did he order a pizza, what’s he waiting around for? And a jogger with a handheld shopping bag, really?! I think this guy was caught because he is, in fact, really bad at being a spy.

    • Marc

      Seriously, he could have at least pretended to be geo-caching. It would be a much better excuse.

  • willy

    Okay. One more guess, since we haven’t nailed this down. The footnote bridge that crosses over 4 Mile Run in Bluemont Park.

    This looks like a good excuse for Exploring Your Arlington Parks.

  • Tim

    Anna Chapman pics or GTFO.

    • KalashniKEV

      I don’t know why people make such a big deal about her… she’s about the most average devushka out there. Lidiya Guryeva had a much more interesting story too, IMO… and is also nice looking.

  • Sal

    Pretty sure it’s down over Four Mile Run near the GlenCarlyn Nature Center– pretty close to where the Robert Hansen stuff happened way back when.

    • drax

      Yep, Hanssen did drops on Carlin Springs Road.

      • Ed

        I remembered Hanssen too! Remind me to check under bridges more often around here!

        • KalashniKEV

          I believe Hansen did his drops out in Vienna…

          • drax

            He did drops, and picked up communications from his handlers, in several sites, including a telephone pole on Carlin Springs Road.

  • Charles

    Nice legs.

  • Sal

    Or Lubber Run

  • Bender

    I would say that that is Glencarlyn Park, between the picnic area and the field with the jungle gym, a little north of the dog park where Long Branch merges with Four Mile Run.

  • dk

    Good lord, I can barely keep my eyes open during this video. Who knew spy hunting could be such a snore.

  • arglebargle

    So when you see someone farting around under a bridge in a park in Arlington, do you wait until he leaves then go check it out in case its a bag of russian cash?

    Or do you run away as fast as you can because you might get scooped up by the FBI?

    • Ed

      My guess is the FBI probably knows who they’re looking for, and would not say anything for fear of blowing the whole thing. I’d take the money.

      Speaking as someone who knows nothing, of course.

  • Lou

    This also kind of looks like it could be the bridge in Bon Air near where the trail goes under 66 and the large play field that the bike trail passes. The sun angles would be consistent with morning. Only problem is that large field and the trail to the left is inviting all kinds of people to see this happen. Not very discreet.

  • Bob

    As a Lubber Run expert, I can 100% rule it out. The three bridges in the park do not match the one in the video.

    Hansen made drops all over NoVA, including under the outdoor wood stage at the Nature Center off S Carlin Springs Rd.

  • Lane Mittendorf

    What’s the purpose of releasing these videos? Esp if it was set up by the FBI. Was this exercise to confirm that they were spies? I can understand that this could be a new installation at the Spy Museum but to publicize it in this way to the world via YouTube doesn’t make sense. Is this some kind of posturinzing by the FBI to the Russians? Just curious to know.

  • Haha

    This is LBJ Memorial Grove. My guess is that the Russian spy was waiting around for a little something else this park is notoriously known for.

  • Caroline Temmermand

    Perhaps we should have a scavenger hunt to locate exactly where this scene was taken? The guesses were great in most cases and it was fun reading how much people know about our wonderful park system.

    I almost hate spoiling the guesses and searches, so if you don’t really want to know exactly where this was taken stop reading now. If you really want to know keep reading.

    The video was taken in Glencarlyn Park, though in a different section used by Hansen.

    Caroline Temmermand
    Chief, Parks and Natural Resources Division
    (703) 226 – 6525 main


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