On the heels of reports of Russian spies infiltrating the United States for nearly a decade, the Vermont connection for one hits close to home. The FBI has arrested 11 people who allegedly served as secret agents in Russia's Intelligence Service. One of the 11 had a post office box in Northfield, Vt. Investigators say he served as the money man.
Some residents in town are worried.
"Part of me is surprised because we have many foreign people come in and out the university, and of course up in Maine we had the terrorist from 9/11 crossing over Maine's border, but anything is possible, but it is very scary being in a small town," said Gail Mariano of Northfield.
Other residents were not very worried.
"I'm not bothered by it," said Verne DuClose of the Northfield Farmers Market. "I don't think we're going to see an invasion of Russians any time soon here in Vermont. I can't imagine anything here that they would want."
Hal Kearsley is a professor at Norwich University. He said, "They were really trying to cultivate contacts within our government to influence our governmental process."
Christopher Metsos, 54, was arrested Tuesday in Cyprus. He studied at the military school for one semester in 1994 as a civilian student and sports medicine major. He's considered a key suspect in the alleged Russian spy ring. Kearsley thinks that having a post office box is the perfect way to keep yourself from being noticed.
"The good part about it is you don't even have to live here really. So I see it as a perfect cover for someone that wants to be close to a border, and thus be able to leave if need be," Kearsley said.
The White House says the arrests of the 11 people will not affect the relationship between the U.S. and Russia, and just last week, President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed what they called a "reset" relationship between the two nations.
The alleged spies are accused of trying to infiltrate U.S. policymaking circles while posing as ordinary citizens settling into American life with orders straight from their bosses in Russia. The arrests began on Sunday partly because one of the suspects was scheduled to leave the country.
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