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Posted at 5:20 AM ET, 06/29/2010

Accused Russian spies lived perfect Boston lives

By Jeff Stein

They were such a typical, 40-something Cambridge couple--he a clean-cut international consultant, she an attractive, vaguely European blonde selling real estate around the influential university town.

Nice covers for Russian spies, according to the FBI. Perfect location, too: ground zero of the area’s academic-industrial-scientific-government complex.

His global connections ranged from Harvard, where his resume said he attended the Kennedy School of Government, to Paris, China, Singapore and Brazil. She claimed to be from Montreal and educated in Swiss and French schools.

Business must have been good.

In April, the man known as Donald Heathfield, the "wife" known as Tracey Foley and their two teenage sons moved a few blocks up Trowbridge Street, trading in a dowdy duplex for a $900,000 unit in an upscale, faux-colonial spread only a block from Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, according to the Wicked Local Cambridge Web site.

Foley, a licensed broker, has been operating her own business, according to the Web site. Also sometimes called Ann, Foley “has been an agent at Redfin Corp. in Somerville for the past five months and at Weichert Realtors under Channing Real Estate in Cambridge for two prior years,” the Web site said.

Heathfield seemed to be prospering, too. His international consulting and management development firm, Global Partners Inc. has offices at One Broadway in Cambridge, a beehive of cutting-edge technology firms with close ties to MIT and the Pentagon. He also operates Future Maps, “a software system that helps map a picture of anticipated future events,” Wicked Local Cambridge reported.

Two of Heathfield’s associates raved about his business acumen on his Linked-in social networking page.

“Refreshing to work with him, as he puts complex initiatives together that always fit with the end goal that was laid out as our objective,” wrote Gerard Bridi, the president of Accor Services, which lists itself as “near Paris.”

“Working with Don is very enjoyable,” Robert Whittaker, owner of Shared Future, a global human resources company in Singapore, wrote. “He has a pleasant style, whilst always acting professionally.”

He is “very results and solutions focused,” Whittaker added. “He does not get flustered when problems occur, patiently facilitating teams to craft a way through to their end goal.”

But Heathfield’s end, if not the goal the FBI attributes to him, came Sunday night, when the FBI arrested him and the woman known as Tracey Foley in front of their former
house on Trowbridge Street, on charges of being Russian spies.

Neither Bridi or Whittaker could be reached early Tuesday to answer questions about the man they had done business with and endorsed.

Their neighbors, of course, were shocked.

"All I knew about them was when I saw them pull in and out of their driveway," Vicky Steinitz, 71, told the Associated Press. "They were really nice and kept to themselves."

“I’m surprised, very surprised,” Montse Monne-Corbero, a next-door neighbor, told the Boston Herald.

“She was a friendly neighbor. She was gorgeous. She was nice. They were European but I didn’t know what kind.”

The FBI isn’t sure either, by the looks of its 37-page affidavit. The man known as “Heathfield” was almost certainly a Russian trained for years in Moscow’s most elite intelligence school to pass as a Canadian or American, its affidavit suggests.

The real Heathfield, the FBI says, was a Canadian who died a few years ago. His birth certificate was obtained by Moscow Center to fashion a new identity for its spy, whose real name and background may never be learned.

But investigators, journalists and amateur sleuths have plenty to chew on in the electronic trail “Heathfield” left on his personal and company Web sites.

His Linked-in page alone lists over 30 professional alumni, business, academic and international relations associations in which he had sought membership, ranging from Harvard and “Ivy” groups to a business groups focused on China to -- ominously, considering the charges against him -- groups organized around U.S. homeland security, such as the National Emergency Management Resource Center, a unit of DHS.

According the FBI’s affidavit, “Heathfield” was looking for information on U.S. nuclear weapons, among other subjects. Moscow also tasked him to report on "United States policy with regard to the use of the Internet by terrorists, United States policies in Central America, problems with United States military policy and 'Western estimation of (Russian) foreign policy,''' the affidavit said.

Heathfield also had contacts with unidentified former congressional staff members, the FBI affidavit said -- no surprise, considering Harvard’s Kennedy School alone is full of them.

His Linked-in site lists 86 "connections," none publicly available.

None of Heathfield’s worldwide business associates could be immediately reached for comment early Tuesday.

E-mails to them, as well as to employees of Global Partners and Future Map, went unanswered.


See a video of Jeff Stein discussing the case, here.

By Jeff Stein  | June 29, 2010; 5:20 AM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Justice/FBI  | Tags:  Donald Heathfield, FBI, Russian spies. Russian spies arrestedi n Cambridge, SVR, Tracey Foley  
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Next: Anna Chapman, accused spy, is Internet sensation

Comments

Mr. Stein, please understand Boston and Cambridge are two different cities.

Posted by: redsoxfan617 | June 29, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Stein, Please understand Cambridge and Boston are two different cities. It will be great to now bust what I am sure is in existence the Chinese spy ring.

Posted by: redsoxfan617 | June 29, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse


Interesting. Assuming these folks are guilty, it raises questions. Was this couple married in customary fashion before they were trained as spies or were they assigned to each other? Did they raise their kids as American or secret Russian patriots? What was the end game?

Strange.

Posted by: edbyronadams | June 29, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse


A band of Russian spies would fit right into the landscape and be made welcome in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 29, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

No surprise that Putin is wasting millions of dollars trying to build up a spy network in the US, but technically he appears to have failed to get one single "spy" in the US. Yes, he paid a lot of money to get a dozen Russian case officers in place in the US, but where are the communist-leaning nuclear researchers or Federal bureaucrats of years gone by feeding them actual information. Still early, but with years of surveillance on these guys, looks like not a single US citizen began working for these case officers in the field. The end of the ideological wars makes it much harder to get a real turncoat for either side of the Atlantic.

Posted by: RPeacock | June 29, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Could Russia be taking tips from Hollywood because this sounds just like the movie "Little Nikita" starring Sidney Poitier.

Posted by: JAMNEW | June 29, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"The undisclosed spy names empowering a political party must be Democrats or WAPO would leak it" is the gossip on the streets right now.

Come on WAPO be what you are famous for. Empower the little Democracy right to freedom of Press and spill the beans ...leak it.

It is what makes you great.


Posted by: dottydo | June 29, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

A band of Russian spies would fit right into the landscape and be made welcome in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 29, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse
---------------------------------------------

I lived in Cambridge, MA for almost 1 1/2 years and this isn't true. You're a screw job screwjob16.

Posted by: RobertCurleyJacobs | June 29, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

What secrets were these "spies" expected to uncover in Cambridge, MA, and Montclair, NJ?

Posted by: donnolo | June 29, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I love reading short ignorant posts bludgeoning Boston or any other east or west coast city...

Hey, quick heads up out there. Diversity and interaction with people from all over the world is a symptom of a healthy society and city. It is also a risk as it is a reflection of our open society, which I am sure you would praise in an argument for "liberty" or some other reprieve from "oppression". It is no surprise that all over the world cities and towns with that sort of culture tend to be the birthplace of ideas and advances.

You have no monopoly on Patriotism or being a more real American because of where you live or where you were born. Get over it...

Posted by: Rickster623 | June 29, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't trust FBI Director Mueller further than I could throw a piano.

Posted by: Spring_Rain | June 29, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

This case seems like a fake network. Their purpose was to get caught. They were never of any value and never intended to do anything. Their assignments were beyond any practical reach of what they could do.

The FBI may realize this. They may go along with this to make it look like they are doing something. So both sides are happy. The real spying goes on and the FBI can pretend Russia doesn't get anything by spying.

So who is fooled by this? Us.

Posted by: OldAtlantic | June 29, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

A band of Russian spies would fit right into the landscape and be made welcome in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 29, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse
What a pefect name for an idiot

Posted by: lildg54 | June 29, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The Argus eyed will soon repine their lack of service to their country; imagine what good you could have done had you had intimate contact with that one woman. Why, you might have been able to save the nation!

Posted by: Martial | June 29, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

These "Spies" were so ineffectual that we should give them resident ID cards and release them. All that technical information could be obtained from an Internet search and these spies had become obsolete. Did the Feds get the idea about Russian spies from watching the movie from 20 years ago? "Little Nikita" starred River Phoenix and Sidney Poitier. The plot was about a teen ager who discovers his parents are Russian spies.

Posted by: Aarky | July 1, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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