Background and History
Megan’s grandfather, William Stanley (Stan) Redpath, was a foreign agent for Russia. He helped to grow Ketchum MacLeod & Grove (KM&G) into one of the largest advertising agencies in the eastern United States, Ketchum Communications (KC).
He joined KM&G in 1944, and retired as Chairman of the Board of KC in 1971. When he joined KM&G, the firm had one office in Pittsburgh, PA with annual billings of $2.5M. When he retired, the firm had six offices in the US, plus others in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo, with annual billings of $112.6M.
Today, Ketchum, Inc. represents the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the government of Ecuador, the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador, Gazprom Export and Tourism Australia. They represented the Russian Federation until December 2014, and continue to do business in Russia.
Experts such as Yakov Glinsky, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, estimate that between 30 and 60 percent of the income of Russian organized crime is spent on bribery and various forms of political lobbying. To uphold and protect their interests with governmental agencies in both the executive and legislative branches, criminal groups carry out this lobbying in the form of receptions, dinners, trips, and outright cash for reelection.
This trend towards merging individual political parties and movements with criminal organizations is driven both by the desire of organized crime to influence the political and economic processes and by the needs of these political entities for financial support in amounts that only organized crime can supply. Links with organized crime groups around the globe threaten to create a Vorovski Mir, or Thieves’ World.
FARA vs. Espionage Act
Foreign agents are distinct from spies, and generally focus on using propaganda on- and off-line to influence US policy. In Mr. Redpath’s time, advertising agencies played a significant role. Today, social media advertising is one mechanism by which foreign agents, financed by authoritarian regimes and organized crime, undermine democracy.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from participating in US election campaigns since 1966, but there have been repeated instances in which contributions could not be clearly traced because donors masked themselves behind vague corporate entities or because the super PACs failed to provide clear information.
Lax enforcement of FARA has led to the undermining of the US democratic system by Russian foreign agents in the United States, using a voter suppression process which is a form of online psyops. Social media demographically micro-targeted advertising was the mechanism, driven by military-grade foreign influencers. The Trump campaign targeted African Americans, idealistic white liberals and young women, but failed to mark the ads as originating from the campaign. In addition, some social media ads supporting Trump were purchased by foreign nationals. 18 U.S. Code § 2261A and 42 U.S. Code § 13701 criminalize the use of electronic communication or interactive computer services to cause fear and distress. Putin calls his hybrid war on the West the 4th World War, with the Cold War as WW3.
Many of the unregistered foreign agents in the US can be traced to digital ad campaigns. After reviewing numerous Instagram posts by celebrities, athletes, and other influencers, Federal Trade Commission staff recently sent out more than 90 letters reminding influencers and marketers that they should clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to US and foreign sponsors when promoting or endorsing products through social media.
Foreign agents are prohibited from US government employment within 5 years of registering. In the US, if you represent the interests of foreign governments, by law you must register as a foreign agent. But a few key figures on the Trump campaign who had worked for foreign interests didn’t, including former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who registered as foreign agents only after being called out post-election.
Some foreign agents are also involved with espionage. Foreign agents are permitted to operate in the US if they keep their DOJ eFile current, but espionage is illegal. There are two major categories of espionage: non-lethal such as corporate, and the dangerous or dark arts such as assassinations, including filicide. Bioweapons and bioterrorism are the preferred approaches, as they are difficult to trace to a single source. Putin’s hybrid war pits families of foreign agents against each other.
Kim Philby, named for Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim”, was one of the most notorious spies in history. He belonged to a spy ring called the Cambridge Five, and eventually defected to the Soviet Union in 1963 while the Eskey family was living in Beirut, Lebanon. He had risen to a very high rank, the head of Soviet operations for the British secret intelligence services, MI6. His second wife, Aileen Philby, died mysteriously, freeing him to marry a woman he met in Beirut, Eleanor Kearns.
Eleanor Kearns (1914-1968) was born in Seattle and was a graduate of Washington University. She was working for the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson in San Francisco when World War II broke out. She was posted to Istanbul for the Office of War Information and married her first husband, the New York Times correspondent Sam Pope Brewer, in Rome in 1948 before accompanying him to posts in Madrid, New York, and Rio de Janeiro before his assignment to Beirut in 1956. She had a daughter with Brewer named Ann.
In Beirut, she started an affair with Kim Philby. After her divorce from Brewer, she married Philby.
Operation Ghost Stories
In 2010, the FBI arrested 10 Russian spies under Operation Ghost Stories, named for deep cover agents who had adopted the identities of dead people. One of the families in the spy ring was from Seattle. Others were located in New Jersey, Virginia, Cambridge, MA and New York. Russians in America are mostly located in Alaska, California, Florida (South Florida), Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York City metropolitan area, Oregon, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas, and Washington (particularly the Spokane metropolitan area).
A May 2004 surveillance tape shows a Russian spy under the cover as a Second Secretary at Russia’s United Nations Permanent Mission exchanging a shopping bag filled with cash to Christopher Metsos, a member of the sleeper ring. Metsos later buried part of the money in a surreptitiously marked hole — a “dead drop,” in espionage parlance — in a park near Wurtsboro, New York.
Unbeknownst to Metsos, the FBI had secretly installed a GPS tracker in his car. The GPS data showing his extended stop in the park triggered the feds’ curiosity, ultimately betraying his preferred drop site. Two years later, when Metsos’ spy ring pals Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills flew in from Seattle to retrieve the cash, the FBI was waiting for them. Video from a camera installed in a tree above the dead drop captures Zottoli locating the site, marked by an upturned beer bottle, and digging up the cash.
“Zottoli admitted to FBI agents that he is a Russian citizen whose true name is Mikhail Kutzik,” the documents said.
Mills also admitted she was a Russian citizen and that her true name is Natalia Pereverzeva, according to the papers.
The Infinity Project (1995) via @YouTube
Uncle Ken Eskey introducing Tom Clancy on the occasion of the publication of the first edition of Clancy’s book “Rainbow Six” at the National Press Club (1998)
David E. Eskey, ESL Expert, Dies at 69. Dr. Eskey is survived by his third wife of two years, Eleanor; his children, Megan, Jennifer and Katherine; stepchildren, Kim Black-Washington and Robert Black; and brother, Kenneth Eskey. Estate attorney: Gail Kass
Every spy boss needs a cunning code letter (M, K, R, C, JB)
Rudyard Kipling’s “Great Game“: Kim, Spy Stories, and “The Spies March”
FBI: We Busted A Russian Spy Ring In New York City
How Technical Glitches Foiled the Russian Sleeper Spies via @WIRED
Alleged Russian spies admit to being agents
The suspects in a Russian spy ring lived all-American lives
Tom Clancy Dies at 66, but It’s a Mystery. Mr. Clancy is survived by his second wife, Alexandra Llewellyn Clancy, and their daughter, Alexis Jacqueline Page Clancy. He had four children from his first marriage: Michelle E. Bandy, Christine C. Blocksidge, Thomas L. Clancy III and Kathleen W. Clancy. Estate attorney: J.W. Thompson “Topper” Webb
FBI shuts down online drug market Silk Road
U.S. public-relations firm helps Putin make his case to America
Red Mafia Debtors: The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World
Godfather of the Kremlin?