Spy Swaps Not a Cold War Relic





The spy swap between the United States and Russia may seem like something out of a Cold War espionage novel. But although such exchanges are often shrouded in secrecy, they are far from outdated. They continue to be a useful tool for governments, and more especially for their intelligence agencies.

There was a time when Soviet and Western spies would be exchanged in a mutual tense walk across the Glienicke Bridge that spanned the divide between West and East Berlin.

The Soviet Union is now gone, and Berlin is a single city in a reunited Germany. But, as intelligence historian Walter Wark of the University of Toronto says, the latest exchange shows that spy swaps have not gone out of date.

"We have a tendency to forget that spying goes on as usual, and when spying goes on as usual, sooner or later there will be occasion to do a spy swap," Wark said. "But it's gone out of our consciousness, I think is the only thing that's really remarkable about this. It's not that it should happen. It's just that kind of, with all the other dangers that we're facing in a 21st century world, we've forgotten about espionage," he said....



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