Tuesday, July 6, 2010
She was instructed to hold a magazine a certain way to signal the other spy to initiate contact.
Following are among the phrases used by the alleged agents, their handlers and, deceptively, by U.S. counter-espionage officials in exchanges designed to verify the contact's identity.
"Excuse me, but haven't we met in California last summer?"
"No, I think it was the Hamptons."
"Could we have met in Beijing in 2004?"
"Yes, we might have, but I believe it was in Harbin"
"Excuse me, did we meet in Bangkok in April last year?."
"I don't know about April, but I was in Thailand in May of that year."
Chapman was arrested before her mission was complete.
(Gosh, they didn't even use my personal favorite code phrase, "the green grass grows all around, all around".)
Beginning as early as 2000, the accused spies were watched meeting on benches in Central Park and Brooklyn, plotting in a Queens restaurant, exchanging computer files wirelessly in a Times Square Starbucks, smoothly switching bags in the Forest Hills, Queens, Long Island Rail Road station and burying money in the ground upstate.
The old-school cloak and dagger techniques are still successful in the spy world. The top five espionage technologies that are still very much in use are invisible ink, shortwave radio, burst transmissions (a subset of radio transmissions), number stations (a broadcast of seemingly meaningless number sequences), and transposition ciphers (codes that systematically scramble the order of letters in a message).