It's said that a good spy knows how to blend in. And what better way in
today's society to accomplish that, than to be prominently active on a
social networks. Anna Chapman, one of alleged spies recently picked up
in NYC knew how to work social networks almost as well as she did in
staying below the government's radar.
This undated photo taken from the Russian social networking website "Odnoklassniki", or Classmates, shows a woman the Washington Post has identified as Anna Chapman, who appeared at a hearing Monday, June 28, 2010 in New York federal court. Chapman, along with 10 others, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general. The caption on Odnoklassniki site reads "Russia, Moscow. London, Stone age."
Anna Chapman on Odnoklassniki
But a Russian social network wouldn't have helped her social media quotient in the States. So dubbed as the femme fatale of the NY/NJ spy operation, the striking redhead and self-styled entrepreneur who dabbled in real estate posed here for her Facebook profile. One of her posts on her Facebook page, according to Crimesider stated: "if you can dream, you can become it."
While several press accounts indicated that Chapman also had a Twitter account, I don't believe this profile belongs to our Russian spy princess - as there's no indication that she had any theatrical talent.
Its been noted that Chapman took an apartment a block from Wall Street and began using online social networks, including LinkedIn and Facebook to develop business contacts and to market her skills. On her LinkedIn page, Chapman is listed as the chief executive officer of PropertyFinder Ltd., which maintains a Web site featuring real estate listings in Moscow, Spain, Bulgaria and other countries.
Alyona PopovaThis YouTube video posting of Chapman was provided by Alyona Popova. There is no explanation as to Alyona's and Anna's association or if they're related to each other. The description of the video states the following:
"While Russia's foreign ministry has acknowledged its citizens are among the 10 who've been detained, it denies that anything has been done to harm U.S. interests. One of the arrested individuals in the 'deep cover spy ring' case, Anna Chapman, was said to have "met with an individual purporting to be a Russian Government official in Manhattan, New York, at which she received a fraudulent passport," according to the official criminal report. Chapman was also arrested for apparently using her laptop computer inside of a New York City coffee shop at the same time that a Russian Government official was driving by in a minivan. Moscow has already called the charges "contradictory," and is demanding more information on the criminal proceedings from their US counterparts."The video shows Chapman talking directly into the camera in her native Russian tongue (with an English voice-over) discussing the benefits of living in America versus Russia.
Other social networking sites are "rife with images of the striking, redheaded Russian — mixing with businessmen at a conference, posing in front the Statue of Liberty, talking about how to make it in New York." according to an AP release.
Biographical information on Chapman on the Lifenews.ru Web site said she was the daughter of a Russian diplomat who at one time worked in Kenya. It indicated that she moved to Britain after marrying a Brit whose father was an European director for Auchan, the French supermarket chain, which also operates in Russia. The People's Friendship University in Russia confirmed she graduated in 2004.
Chapman is currently in FBI custody after she accepted a fake passport from an undercover FBI agent, agreeing to pass it along to another spy, court papers say. Her lawyer, Robert Baum asserts her innocence indicating that the agent that approached her forced the bogus documents on her. She is awaiting arraignment and trial along with the others in the NY/NJ spy ring.
So while social networking might have kept Ms. Chapman below the radar, it sure provided the world with a ton of Intel regarding her bio, image and background. The question is whether any of its true!
I will be posting future UPDATES on this case as they come in. Let me know if you have uncovered any additional networks Ms. Chapman belonged to?