Talk:Illegals Program

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Former good article nominee Illegals Program was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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January 30, 2011 Good article nominee Not listed
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The Hamptons[edit]

"including an incident cited where a pair of spies met on a park bench with one asking "Excuse me, but haven't we met in California, last summer" to which the other was to respond "No, I think it was the Hamptons"." Source: "Ten arrested, accused of spying for Russia", June 28, 2010. Accessed June 28, 2010.

This corresponds to an FBI setup described in the complaint on Anna Chapman and Mikhail Semenko (Page 12) and leads me to believe that the MSNBC has misreported the document. I have therefore removed the statement. Einhov (talk) 00:01, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Questions left unanswered[edit]

Are these people Russian nationals? What were their motives? Valleyofdawn (talk) 08:18, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, they are Russians except Vicky Pelaez who is from Peru.--Comiccar (talk) 08:48, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Husband of Pelaez is also from Peru. There are voiced concerns that detention of Pelaezes is politically motivated and related to Vicky Pelaez'es articles, critical of the U.S. Government: [1]
+ See this.
ellol (talk) 15:46, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
NYT reports that Lazaro confessed, and said that Pelaez was involved. [2] --ChrisRuvolo (t) 21:31, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Furthermore, Time magazine quotes a Russian foreign ministry official that admitted that all suspects were Russian citizens.[3] Whether that means Pelaez is naturalized or a national remains to be seen, but considering her husband is said to have not been from Uruguay originally (and that Juan Lazaro is not his real name) it doesn't bode well for Pelaez. --み使い Mitsukai 23:11, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Funny enough that even an official press-release from the Russian ministry of Foreign Affairs mentions "10 russian citizen" [sic]. And funny enough Pelez was offered a payment of 2.5k USD pm by Russian government and a right to become resident in Russia. Egh0st (talk) 05:41, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Anna Chapman residence[edit]

According to an AP article, "Chapman took an apartment a block from Wall Street".[4] I have information that Anna Chapman lived at 20 Exchange Place paying $8500/mo in rent for an apartment, but am having trouble finding a reliable source. I can find two links online to her at that address, but neither state that she lived there:

  1. one of her purported websites, lists the contact address at 20 Exchange Place.
  2. this photo [5] shows her sitting on the balcony of 20 Exchange, looking north with 40 Wall Street and One Chase Manhattan Plaza in the background.

Does anyone have any reliable sources related to her residence? Thanks. --ChrisRuvolo (t) 15:48, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I found a source for her at the building, in French: [6]. --ChrisRuvolo (t) 15:00, 30 July 2010 (UTC)


This title has got to be the least intuitive I have ever seen. There has to be a better choice out there. Abductive (reasoning) 02:13, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

The title was one of many possible ones when the news first broke. No one stood out. Now there is the 2010 Russia - United States spy swap. That will be the thing remembered. This should be merged there unless the article becomes so long that sub-articles on the Russian planning and what info they did get becomes an article. Actually, the 2010 title may need modification if the British get their man back. Also research needs to be seen if the people the Americans are getting are spies or not. Gary Powers was a pilot, not a spy. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 03:39, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Something funny happened. There was a tag suggesting a merge to the 2010 Russia USA article but later someone else merge the target, not the subject article. I will correct this error. I think it was an honest mistake. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 15:08, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

This is a better title than Illegals Program? Why do we have to always change these titles to make them longer and more complex... Bsimmons666 (talk) 15:19, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved by rough consensus, but no prejudice against future move requests to other titles. Regards, Arbitrarily0 (talk) 00:17, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

2010 Russia-United States prisoner swapIllegals Program. The current titleedited for clarity is an absolute Wikipedia classic, our own coining with no outside use, that is totally meaningless. I would swap it straight back, but I want to get a consensus on the best name. I think the "Illegals Program" sums it up the best as that's a brief name given by the FBI. I'd settle for "2010 Russian spy scandal" if "Illegals Program" is deemed to be too obscure; "swap" is too casual, and the spy exchange is just the end of the scandal not the whole topic. Focussing on it in the title is a mistake. Fences&Windows 19:26, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

  • The Wikipedia home page lists this article. In Canada, they are calling this the spy swap. Nobody uses the term "Illegals Program". Calling it the Russian spy swap is a little too general. Maybe making up the 2010 part is ok. See User:Anne 90 9 July 2010
  • This is a perfect name for the article, please do not change it. Thank you. Beam 20:27, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Perfect? "Prisoner" is completely non-specific; nobody would be looking for this content under that title. Fences&Windows 20:29, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Beam, feel free to address any of the valid points that Fences&Windows brought up. tildetildetildetilde —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't know who made the decision to merge Illegals Program and 2010 Russia – United States spy swap, but "spy swap" is by far the more common English term used in the media than "prisoner swap". But for the sake of a comprehensive name for everything that's being written about, I agree that 2010 Russian spy scandal or something akin to that would do. Joshdboz (talk) 21:42, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong support for move back to Illegals Program. This thing was going on for over a decade, the "scandal" and the "swap" parts are just sideshows. Also – I am sure we will eventually learn much more on what the Russians where doing the last ten years, other than watering their hydrangeas. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:31, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
    P.S. - Any reference to a scandal would be highly anglocentric. This is not an American scandal but a Russian operation, with of course a strong FBI shadow operation. Until we know how the SVR named this we have to stick with the FBI naming. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:54, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong support for Illegals Program, which is most certainly not "our own coining with no outside use", let alone being "totally meaningless". When I created the article a few weeks back, I used this source from The New York Times, which explicitly states "The documents detailed what the authorities called the “Illegals Program,” an ambitious, long-term effort by the S.V.R., the successor to the Soviet K.G.B., to plant Russian spies in the United States to gather information and recruit more agents", thus the title chosen. I could have used "Bunch of alleged Russian spies arrested in 2010" as a title, but the original source that I read used what I thought to be an appropriate title. While I would also prefer the original title, the current title would also be accepatable with "spy swap" instead of "prisoner swap". Alansohn (talk) 22:42, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Er... I said the current title was our own coining and totally meaningless. I've edited my comment for clarity. Fences&Windows 23:31, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong support for Illegals Program. The actual swap is a recent, specific development. Such a title does not accurately describe the broader subject on which this article is based. "Illegals Program" is the term formally used by the United States Department of Justice, so it's vastly superior to any arbitrary phrase we come up with. —David Levy 23:17, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Outside the United States, nobody has a clue what Illegals Program refers to. I would have thought that particular term referred to rounding up illegal Latin American immigrants! In the United Kingdom, it is being referred to as the Russian Spy Ring or Russian Spy Swap, though how you can have a swap that only involves one country (as suggested by that title) baffles me. This is not simply an American incident: it involves at least Ireland, Russia and the United Kingdom, and any title should be meaningful to readers in those countries and the rest of the world. Skinsmoke (talk) 04:12, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Support for Illegals Program. the name might be obscure, but it encompasses the topic better than the swap, which as David said, is only the most recent development in the whole case. At the very least support any other title than this one. hbdragon88 (talk) 06:43, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose change since the news (in Sweden) mostly was about the swap and not on the spies. If a name change is done I would also suggest that the article should be rewritten to better emphasize the spies activities and capture and not as now focus on the swap. (talk) 11:33, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
    • The news in Sweden, written in Swedish, should have no bearing on the title of an article in the English Wikipedia. This amounts to "I've not heard of it", and is a deeply parochial approach. Shall we delete it because Amazonian tribes haven't read about it? Fences&Windows 13:58, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
      • The news in Sweden including the news in Swedish have a bearing since it is an indication of what is the most widespread and "interesting" part of this incident (that the article is about). And since the English Wikipedia is not only for Americans and others with English as their native language but also for most everyone (since most everyone speaks English) the focus of the article can certainly be influenced by the news in Sweden, Amazonas or US independent of what language it is reported in. (talk) 21:38, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Commentary Using the term "Illegals Program" is giving a lot of weight to the U.S. government since that is the term they coined. The SVR has another term. The Illegals Program has nothing to do with the 4 Russian prisoners. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 20:06, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Rename to Illegals Program or 2010 Russian spy ring (which I just created as a redirect), or even better, split into two articles. The spy ring, or spy scandal, or Illegals Program, or whatever you wish to call it, is a separate subject from the spy exchange or prisoner exchange. The two articles should of course refer to each other, but they are two separate things. I also think that, now that this event is basically over, the articles on Anna Chapman and any others that have been created about the individual "ring members" should be merged back into the article on the "ring". Neutron (talk) 17:58, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
    • "Illegals" is a common and fairly precise term in spy jargon, as seen in KGB and Clandestine_HUMINT_asset_recruiting#Process_of_legalising_illegal_agents. Amongst the various Russian agents in the swap, the loyal eastbound ones fit this description, but the particular criminal records of the westbound Russian agents, who were convicted of what amounts to switching sides, do not seem, at least to me, to fit the term as used in the relevant jargon. On the other hand, the term "spy swap" seems to be most used in news reporting, and to have precisely the correct level of vagueness, whilst the vagueness of "prisoner" is excessive. Jim.henderson (talk) 21:56, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
    • But the swap is only one element of the article's subject. —David Levy 23:04, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Its not just two elements, its two different subjects. Each one needs an article. Neutron (talk) 04:04, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
    • I'm inclined to agree that a split is a good idea. —David Levy 04:46, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
    • If we had enough good information for a spy ring article, yes. However, little has been released, and the prospects for more are not bright, and in the current darkness a section of the spy swap article can suffice to explain the collective significance of the persons swapped. Prospects are somewhat brighter for individual biographies, which also would not call for expanding the current sections or breaking them out into spy ring articles. Jim.henderson (talk) 13:56, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Why would we split it? This is one coherent topic. There was a spy ring, it was uncovered, and the spies were deported in an exchange. Enough with the mania for splitting articles on current events to cover every minutiae! Splitting simply for the sake of it doesn't help our readers. Fences&Windows 18:51, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Agree with Fences about not splitting the article. The use of the word "swap" is preferred over "illegals". Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 15:25, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Support This whole issue started with the Illegals Program and ended with a spy swap. Explaining the program (what we know) and then ending the article with the swap is best. Yes, the spy swap was the most dramatic part but it surrounds the program. When more comes out, maybe there can be split. A redirect of this page to the illegals program would suffice for other people that never heard of it. BTW, When this issue I first started to search for the article here, I found History of Soviet and Russian espionage in the United States which just included one sentence on the Illegals Program.--NortyNort (talk) 10:00, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

This RM is too confusing because there is not a clear proposal. Some, including me, prefer a move to the 2010 Russian - United States spy swap. If this is not done, I prefer to leave it alone rather than using the obscure Illegals Program title. But others' preferences are not clear because the RM proposal is not as clearly written as it could have been. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 19:42, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree there are problems with "Illegals Program", but the alternative to that is to have the title be about the "spy ring" or something similar. At present, with the title being about the "swap", the title deals only with the end of the story and not the entire story. It's not a good title for this article. Neutron (talk) 15:07, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No longer "alleged"[edit]

They admitted to being spies, can we remove the word alleged now? Beam 20:26, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

I guess it depends on what we mean by spies. As far as I understand, they only plead guilty for failing to register as an agent of a foreign government, which isn't exactly a spy, though colloquially this is being used by 99% of media outlets. I think spy or agent is probably fine, and no need for "alleged" anymore. Anyone else? Joshdboz (talk) 21:48, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
I didn't see any confession on a networked operation, as it is stated in the first paragraph. However, they confessed to being foreign agents, and assuming false identities, so no need for "alleged" there. I made the change in that part. Crnorizec (talk) 12:30, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Alexander Sypachev?[edit]

The last paragraph of the Background section mentions someone named Alexander Sypachev as being one of "two of the other individuals who would be included" in the exchange. That particular sentence references a BBC web page [7] but that doesn't mention anyone by that name. A yahoo page [8] found via a google search does mention him but not Gennady Vasilenko. Why the discrepancy? tildetildetildetilde —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

His name was thrown around by a few media outlets as a possible swap candidate, but it turns out he was not on the final exchange list. For whatever reason he was not swapped, but Vasilenko (who hadn't been mentioned in media rumors) was. Joshdboz (talk) 21:45, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

What about a picture of Anna Chapman?[edit]

Should brighten things up :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree. There should be more hot chicks on Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:09, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

What did they do?[edit]

Skimming the article, it doesn't seem to tell what those spies actually did. What kind of sensitive information did they gather? The article does, however, read: No charges were offered that the individuals involved had gained access to classified material, though contacts had been made with a former intelligence official and with a scientist involved in developing bunker buster bombs. It is well-known that many 'spies' use a lot of time for boring tasks such as gathering news articles and write political analysis. If, for some reason, the accurate charges and details haven't been revealed in he court case, this should at least be mentioned. There might even be some reason behind the claim that some of them were prosecuted for their political activities. Every major power would try and expel foreigners if they become difficult. I'm not saying this is the case, but I would always be skeptical. --Sasper (talk) 23:30, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

They all "have been charged with conspiring to act as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit money laundering". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Partizan007 (talkcontribs) 06:59, 1 January 2011 (UTC)


i.e. intelligence agencies ownz your constitutions. --Leladax (talk) 23:41, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Pictures of aircraft?[edit]

Can we find free pictures of the aircraft involved in the swap? I did not find anything in Commons:Category:Boeing 767-200 from Vision Airlines. The Russian jet may be less camera shy. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:35, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Picture number 30 of 50 on this set of photographs shows that the registration number of the Vision Airlines 767 is N766VA[1]. Find a free photo from somewhere and we may have some illustrations on this article. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:07, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
And if you do not know where to find the aircraft you can use this page to track it in real time :-) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:15, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
P.S. - The tracking site still lists the flights of the plane on July 8 and 9. Here is the information for reference:
-- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:00, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

The eleventh agent in Cyprus[edit]

Should we add something about the eleventh agent's case being unresolved? This CBS news article posted in the last hour makes mention of the fact that the missing agent's case is still pending, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.--Forward Unto Dawn 04:18, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Political and other ramifications — US public opinion[edit]

Could this article in The New York Times be used as a source in the section on political and other ramifications? Or is it just a James Bond screenwriter fantasizing about his favorite film? If this opinion piece is any guide to American public opinion, then certainly this incident has not given rise to a wave of Cold War type Russophobic paranoia, quite the opposite.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:34, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

the spies kids?[edit]

It is unclear in the article of what happened to the spies kids. Did they join the parents back to Russia or stayed in the US? Could someone please clarify that. (talk) 11:25, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

The parents were pressured. You confess or you will never see your kids again. The spies with the kids confessed very soon afterwards compared to the ones without kids. As part of the agreement, the kids were sent to relatives in Russia even before the swap. I know because I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express! Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 16:58, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Wrong. All children who were born in the USA could have remained there. They were given a choice, and seems they choose to go home for now instead. They will remain US citizens so can return any time, in theory. Too lazy though to dig exact media reports on this topic but there were some. Egh0st (talk) 05:32, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

I'll have to do some digging but IIRC per the NY Times and WaPo, Juan Lazaro Jr. (if his father's last name really isn't Lazaro is he technically still a junior?) now lives with his brother in upstate NY and the Foley kids are staying with family friends in the DC area. All the younger kids have migrated to Russia. ip.address.conflict (too lazy to sign in right now) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:51, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Terminology: “Western?”[edit]

Rather than referring to the other agents as “Western”—an ambiguous term at best, and a ridiculously outdated one at least—why not refer to them as NATO or Anglo-American agents? (It wouldn’t be appropriate to refer to them as U.S. agents, since at least one of them was an agent of the U.K.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grjako (talkcontribs) 15:51, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Because both those terms would be inaccurate. They were not NATO agents - that would imply that all NATO countries were endorsing them, and they were not "Anglo-American", because that refers to someone of English heritage who is American, or that the spies were sponsored by both countries as once. Western civilization is still a widely used terminology. かんぱい! Scapler (talk) 16:29, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
Are you actually suggesting, then, that these guys were agents of "Western Civilization"? That doesn't work, that's even more inaccurate than those other two. Who were they actually agents of? Grjako (talk) 08:33, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
The Department of Justice press release on the exchange described them as "four individuals who are incarcerated in Russia for alleged contact with Western intelligence agencies". It's not outdated, it just means that they are going to maintain a minimum of operational secrecy. Joshdboz (talk) 16:58, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

3 of the men are agents. Sutyagin is a human rights prisoner. The 4th man is a mystery. His article was deleted and purged. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 20:08, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

A human rights prisoner? What in the world does that mean? He’s in prison for no other reason than to violate his human rights? Grjako (talk) 08:25, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
The other 3 are spies. Suryagin was in prison almost solely to violate his human rights. The other reason was to be a warning to all Russians not to work for Western companies and, particularly, Western think tanks. Work for them and you could be jailed. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 20:03, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
What’s your source for this information? Grjako (talk) 10:57, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Article with some information for the article[edit] It's an interesting read. Read it and decide what is useful for this article.

Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 17:02, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

I removed the "excerpts", please don't paste in text from sources in the talk page like that. It breaches copyright and clogs up the page. Fences&Windows 20:05, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
For those interested, look in this page history. The excerpts lists the parts that we might include. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 20:09, 10 July 2010 (UTC)


Why is this article semi-protected? (talk) 20:25, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Probably due to excessive vandalism... If you would like to contribute however you can create an account to bypass the protection protocals.. - (talk) 20:29, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

The fourth US/British Spy?[edit]

Who is he, and why doesn't he have a section along with the other 3 spies? He can't be any less notable than the other three. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:08, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Based on available information Gennadiy Vasilenko is a former KGB intellegence officer convicted for illegal posession of firearms. However, in 1988 it was suspected that he is US agent and he was arrested but then nothing was proven and he was realeased. [9]. By the way, Vasilenko was arrested for the firearms violation in 2005 and was sentenced to 3 years so it is unclear why he was still in prison! Olegwiki (talk) 13:27, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

You are correct. Not only firearms though, a possession of explosive materials as well. And one more correction -- he was released in 1990 but he was sacked from KGB and his rank lowered. Basically that means they didn't have any serious proof but were certain he was somehow involved. Practically no reliable info whatsoever on his relation to the deal or to any western intelligence. Even in the Russian online media. Egh0st (talk) 05:55, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Can't help but admire the Wiki-weasels[edit]

So on one side there're all proven spies, on the other side they're all alleged spies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:00, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Sigh. It's really not that hard to grasp. A lot of the sources are specifically stating that they are "spies". But nothing in those sources qualifies them as spies, either officially or unofficially, especially as what they did was in no way spying. So we're torn between the facts and what the sources say. (talk) 07:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC) Harlequin

One of the largest "spy swaps" since the Cold War.[edit]

Described as such in many media reports, and on the front page of Wikipedia currently. Not familiar with any swaps of this size, just diplomats being expelled. Any clues and is it relevant enough to be in the text of the article? MartinSFSA (talk) 15:22, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Odd that we have no general spy swap article, given that it was a fairly prominent recurring event in the Cold War. We do, however, have Glienicke Bridge, known abroad principally for this activity. Jim.henderson (talk) 14:47, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Need to re-vamp the article[edit]

This article has been moved to (or renamed) Illegals Program. As such, all of the Russians traded and brought to the UK and US should be removed. Only a sentence or two should be left.

Their information can be placed in a swap article or an article about Russians swapped for the (known) Illegals Program agents. If there is a swap article, then more stuff can be added. The details of the swap, the 12th Microsoft man (who wasn't charged with being part of that program), and other stuff could be added. There are many details of the swap not in this article. The swap was done differently than past swaps.

The other problem is that the public doesn't know about the Illegals Program. It could be a vast network of 200 Russian agents. If so, WP only knows about the 11 agents. To make an original research statement and assume that the entire Illegals Program was only 11 agents is crazy. Yet to say that they were part of the Illegals Program is also original research. I'll try to fix that one. The other issue about re-vamping, I'll leave to others to discuss.

Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 15:14, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

I favor a fact based article. I have a hard time expressing this concept in English so bear with me. One example is the names of the agents. We should not be using names like "John Smith" in the heading. We should present the facts as we can verify. We should use the name like "Vladimir Tereshenko" then say in the article that he used the name of the late John Smith. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 15:37, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

More on what the agents did needs to be put in the article. The court documents give some information. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 17:01, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

@$#& we have to get this right[edit]

If I were Superman's newspaper boss, I'd be swearing @!%&%$#

We must get this right. Almost a month of this high profile article and Wikipedia doesn't have it (pardon my French) shit together.

For example, under the list of agents exchanged by the USA, Christopher Metsos is listed! He escaped from Cyprus and was never under American control.

There are many other things that need to be fixed. Just concentrating on the name change is much, much lower down the priority.

One order of business is to decide on how to structure the article. What will be the name of the subarticle? The Swap? Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 15:26, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Christopher Metsos name is rumored to be Mikhail Yukosheva but there are no media sources, such as CNN, that publish it so I have not put it in the article. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 14:59, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Unreferenced quote[edit]

This supposed quote at the beginning of the "Background" section (Using forged documents, some of the spies had assumed the identities of "citizens or legal residents of the countries to which they are deployed" and had enrolled...) -- Where is it from? If this is merely from a mass media report, perhaps it should paraphrased and unquoted; if it cites an official document, methinks, there ought to be a clear reference to that effect.Axxxion (talk) 11:15, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

To my good friend (unless you are a spy, then I don't know you!) Axxxion, this quote seems to be legal plagiarism (hence the quotes) from . I put the reference then paraphrased it better. Oh, Ax., does the 3 x's have anything to do with porn? ;p Just kidding. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 17:30, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

To Suomi Finland 2009: I believe we should not be in a hurry; it takes time to sort it out properly with correct refs and all that. It is easier to do it slowly but properly, rather than quickly and in a sloppy way -- takes more time to fix it.Axxxion (talk) 19:30, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I just read this. I will comply from now on. Reference formatting is my weakness because I am not sure exactly how to do it. Also, I re-inserted why there were arrested on the specific date. We like to focus on Anna Chapman, since she is the sex kitten of the bunch, but one of the spies was leaving for Russia with his younger son.
One thing we need is to documents what spying they did and how they were caught. There some information on Anna Chapman. The "Uruguayan" and Vicky Pelaez are not covered too well as far was what spying they did.
Keep up the good work Axxxion and others. Axxxion and I are editing this so much and are in so much agreement that we must either be friends or sockpuppets! When people cooperate, Wikipedia gets better! Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 20:26, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Excuse me for being somewhat short-tempered. I believe it is easier to do it properly (i mean the refs formatting, etc) from the start rather than sorting it out in a long and messy article afterwards -- it is just humungously time-consuming. My way of treating the priorities, frankly, is somewhat different: i believe that the whole story is in essence a classical post-modern farce, the laughing-stock being this bunch of Keystone 'spies' (not my appellation but the media's). The only truly meaningful gist thereof appears to be how it fit in the US-Russia "re-set" process. I put some relevant material on that in the "Political ramifications" section, which ought to be expanded. The details about the persons themselves, methinks, are mostly irrelevant: none of these persons (excepting perhaps one or two) merits an article -- they are just utterly insignificant. This is not to say we should not put out the facts about the saga itself; they (actual facts) are often hard to see in the flood of tabloid gibberish about 'hot', 'red-headed', 'sexy' - who? The girl did the total zilch, espionage-wise; all she did in the UK and the US was whoring around with wealthy old men; when deported, she was naturally "upset" (according to her lawer). If this story has any meaning for the world of espionage, it is in it being a grotesque illustration of "farsical end of the SVR's activities, the product of its decomposition", in Belkovsky's words ("фарсового окончания деятельности Службы внешней разведки России, продукт ее распада" - ).Axxxion (talk) 16:57, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
Completely agree. The political ramifications part needs improvement. The list of names was the easy part and the first thing to be in the article. As time goes on, it will be very difficult to expand on the names and what they did as we cannot use FBI files as references (I am not FBI). We can slowly develop the politics section. Also, I would like to submit this for GA consideration. I think it can't qualify for FA because of the nature of the article but this article can be good. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 16:15, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Mug shots[edit]

I notice that the "mug shot" of each of the 10 "original" suspects/convicts/deportees now appears not once, but twice in this article -- once in a montage (or whatever it's called) in the infobox and again in the section on each individual or couple. First we have to consider whether these photos are appropriate at all, in light of WP:MUG (which is part of WP:BLP). The applicable part of that policy states: "Images of living persons should not be used out of context to present a person in a false or disparaging light. This is particularly important for police booking photographs (mugshots), or situations where the subject was not expecting to be photographed." When the use of the mug shot in the Anna Chapman article was discussed on that article's talk page, I supported the inclusion of the photo in the infobox (rather than lower down in the article, as some editors were insisting upon.) Nobody suggested that the photo should appear in both places, as it does in this article (meaning that her mug shot now appears three times in two different articles.) One argument in the Chapman case, which I agreed with, was that the photo did not necessarily look like a mug shot, which is probably also true for about half the other photos in this article. (I guess one lesson here is that if you are going to commit a crime (in the U.S.), you might want to consider violating federal rather than state law -- the penalties may be more severe, but at least the U.S. Marshal's Service won't try to make you look too bad in your mug shot.) But the other half, approximately, do look like the kind of photo one would not take voluntarily. On the other hand, I think all of them are "in context", in that all of these people are known primarily for being arrested, and for what they were arrested, charged, convicted (after pleading guilty) and deported for. (In fact, with the sole exception of Vicky Palaez, they are known solely for that. One might argue that Chapman is also an exception, but she didn't actually do anything else newsworthy -- ironically, the reason she is the best known is that she posed for a lot of photos, none of which Wikipedia can use (apparently) due to copyright.) I guess the only other issue is one that is not specifically mentioned at WP:MUG, though it is related to the question of "Does it look like a mug shot?" and that is whether the "quality" of the photo is relevant -- in other words, if the photo makes a person look "really bad", is that an argument for removal? After considering that question, take a look at the photos. Most of them look like they are tired and have not gotten enough sleep, which was no doubt the case after being arrested, booked etc. Nevertheless, the ever-photogenic Ms. Chapman does not look so bad, and is almost smiling, despite being photographed not wearing the latest fashion. Three of the men (Vasenkov, Bezrukov, Kutzik) don't look so bad, and Bezrukov actually is smiling. The other two men are obviously not having a good day. Mrs. Guryev doesn't look so bad, other than looking very, very tired. The other three women -- well, what can I say. I don't think any of them will be hanging that photo on their wall back in Moscow or Peru or wherever.

So what's the bottom line? My opinion is, keep the photos in the section on each person. They are "in context" and simply show us what the person looked like when arrested, and we already know they were arrested, and that they later pleaded guilty and sent home, because that is what the article is about out. However, take the montage out of the infobox. It is unnecessary repetition of photos that are teetering on the edge of policy anyway. Neutron (talk) 22:46, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Removing the montage makes sense. Suomi Finland 2009 (talk) 18:46, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
These certainly do not look like professionally taken photos, but they're hardly false or misleading, and are completely in the public domain. I think the issue of the montage is subjective, but I have no opposition if the consensus feels that the individual mug shots are enough. KimChee (talk) 04:35, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Remove individual mug shots per WP:BLP. It looks like the people in the photos, except for Chapman, have been tortured, or at least been subjected to sleep deprivation. These people are not criminals and we have no right to treat them like John Gotti. (Well in fact even his mug shot looks better.) The montage can stay-- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:53, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Legally speaking they are criminals and it isn't really WP place to judge here. As long as there are no other public pictures available, I c nothing wrong with resorting mugshots, in particular not if a crime and arrest is central their biography. That doesn't mean one has to use them and by all means they might be replaced by other "better" free images, but they can be used.--Kmhkmh (talk) 11:09, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

I removed the "gallery" and left the individual shots per the discussion above. To Petri Krohn, I agree with Kmhkmh, they did all plead guilty to crimes. As stated above, I too am a bit troubled by the appearance of the some of the individuals in these photos, though I don't think the quality of the photos alone violates WP:BLP, and the term "tortured" definitely goes too far. (Although I have not done a complete correlation, it seems like the ones who really look haggard are the couples with children, while carefree Anna looks ready to touch up her makeup, put on that little red number and head out for another night on the town.) However, on balance I think it is better to have all the photos rather than some of them or none of them. Neutron (talk) 20:24, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Calling them "criminals" is a very one-sided WP:POV. More likely they are Heroes of the Russian Federation. We would not treat terrorists / freedom fighters this way, even if they were captured and convicted. This photo (or this) does not appear in the article on Abdullah Öcalan. This photo is not in the article on Abimael Guzmán, not even in the section on his capture. One the opposite end of the spectrum, these two photos appear in the article on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but only in the section describing his capture and alleged torture – with the main articles listed as Enhanced interrogation techniques and Black site. I have restored the gallery, as I feel that it is appropriate. I ask you to remove the mug shots as a clear violation of the policy on Biographies of living persons. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:48, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
So little mug shots are ok, but larger mug shots aren't? This does not make much sense to me. As for the other photos, none of this seems relevant. In case of the first individual, this individual is bound and handcuffed, unlike the Illegals Program people. In the case of the second individual, the person is behind bars (and this photo also looks suspiciously like a staged photo.) (There is no indication that anyone ever attempted to use these on Wikipedia anyway.) In the case of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, again the photos are far different than those of the Illegals Program people. There is no suggestion that these people were tortured. They just look tired, to varying degrees. Some of them obviously don't photograph well. I don't either. I wish some of my drivers license photos over the years looked as good as some of these photos, and the only torture I had suffered was having to stand in line. As for whether they are "criminals", they were living in the United States, committed acts in violation of U.S. law, were charged and pleaded guilty. I think that is enough for them to be considered criminals, regardless of how they might be regarded elsewhere. That being the case, their mug shots -- the only public domain photos that are available -- are in context and may be used in this article. Once, and not just the tiny versions. Neutron (talk) 02:14, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
This is the English language Wikipedia, not the American or British Wikipedia. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:49, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
That's not the point. The photos are still "in context" of what these people are notable for. If you can get better photos of them that are in the public domain, by all means upload them and we can then discuss whether they are preferable to the photos in the article now (which in at least some of the cases they probably would be.) Maybe the Russian government can give you a public domain photo of these folks wearing their heroes' sashes and medals. Please keep us posted. Neutron (talk) 16:12, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

@Petri Krohn : again mugshots per se do not violate WP:BLP. As far as the term "criminal" concerned it is not POV but a legal term, i.e. anybody convicted of crime is criminal in that sense. If you want be more specific call them "criminals under US law" and hence US mugshots might be used. Furthermore the term is used on the discussion page in argument here and not in the article. A POV that I see however, is to reserve the use of mugshots solely to biographies of people that you personally consider as "real criminals", whereas using mugshots of anybody being convicted of a crime in some country (if no other pic is available) is rather less POV. Unless you want to argue mugshots cannot be used at all, however such an approach is currently not backed by any guideline nor common opinion among editors.--Kmhkmh (talk) 16:54, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Illegals Program/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Jezhotwells (talk) 02:43, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

I will review this article. -- Cirt (talk) 05:48, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Almost a month and no review. I am willing to review it. TeacherA (talk) 23:49, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

OK, following this thread at User talk:Cirt i will review this article. I did offer TeacherA the chance to review, without response. Jezhotwells (talk) 02:43, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

I shall be reviewing this article against the Good Article criteria, following its nomination for Good Article status.

Disambiguations: One found and fixed.[10] Jezhotwells (talk) 02:47, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Linkrot: Three found and tagged.[11] Jezhotwells (talk) 02:51, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Checking against GA criteria[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
    According to the media reports, planning by the FBI to have the 'illegals' arrested had begun in mid-June 2010, but the action was hastened reportedly by some members of the group intending to travel outside the U.S. as well as by Anna Chapman's growing concern about having been exposed At this point in the article, Chapman has not been mentioned so some clarification is needed.
    Vladimir Guriyev was planning to travel to France and possibly Russia, Bezrukov was planning to travel outside the U.S. with his son,[11] and Anna Chapman, in a telephone call to her father the day before the arrest, was suspicious that she may have been discovered to be an agent again a little explanation necessary, also the Chapman information is perhaps repetitious.
    There are a number of stray sentences which should be incorporated into paragraphs.
    Coinciding with the day of the prisoners' swap, the death of the prominent Russian defector Sergei Tretyakov who had died in the US on June 13, 2010, was reported on July 9, 2010; the Florida medical examiner's report released on September 20, 2010, cited an accident and a tumour as the cause of death Rather clumsy phrasing here.
    November 11, 2010, issue of Kommersant, Russia's broadsheet, Missing definite article.
    The India One reports that Is "India One" the title of a newspaper? If so it should be italicized.
    Her LinkedIn social networking site profile identified herself as CEO of PropertyFinder Ltd Clumsy phrasing.
    Chapman's prior meetings with her Russian handlers had been on Wednesdays, not face to face, solely to pass information via encrypted private computer networks at Barnes & Noble or at Starbucks. Needs explanation - if this was not face to face, it was not a meeting.
    Her suspicions increased when "Roman" was a different person than she knew Very clumsy phrasing
    OK, I am going to ask for a thorough copy edit before going through any more of the prose. as it stands, it clearly fails the "reasonably well written" criterion.
    The lead seems rather short and does not fully summarize the article as per WP:LEAD.
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    Three dead links as per note above.
    The Russian artcile titles in references need to be translated. And for consistency all should state the language.
    All those checked and live appear reliable.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    On Hold for seven days for above issues to be addressed. User:Jezhotwells |(talk) 03:16, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
    A couple of minor edits have been made but the issues raised above have not been addressed so I shall not be listing this article. Jezhotwells (talk) 16:11, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Calling home[edit]

It seems rather outdated to use "disappearing ink, ad hoc wireless networks and shortwave radio transmissions", when anyone can just spam. Spam is bulk by nature (making it hard to identify the intended recipient), it is often badly written (making it easy to encode the message) and it offers plausible deniability ("My computer was hacked"). -- (talk) 20:55, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ "FAA Registry". Federal Aviation Administration.