WASHINGTON, June 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Justice Department announced Monday authorities have arrested 10 suspects on charges of spying for Russia. Court documents show they tried to penetrate decision making circles of the Federal government.
The suspects were all members of a Russian intelligence program that operates inside the United States, and they all were arrested on Sunday. According to a Justice Department statement, they were allegedly carrying out long-term, "deep-cover" assignments in the United States on behalf of the Russian Federation. One suspect remains at large.
The 11 defendants are charged with two separate criminal complaints, with one count being conspiring to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Nine are also charged with the accusation of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The defendants were arrested in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Ma., and Arlington, VA. Charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The statement said the case is the result of a multi-year investigation conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and the Counterespionage Section and the Office of Intelligence within the Justice Department's National Security Division.
Court documents show U.S. authorities intercepted a message from Russian intelligence services to two of the accused, ordering them to "search and develop ties in policymaking circles" in the United States.
In a report back to Moscow, one defendants reported the change of CIA director, information gained from a private conversation with a former legislative counsel for Congress.
Court documents also showed one suspect being instructed to build relationship with a New York financier well-connected in the political circles.