Posted Thursday, April 27, 2000

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British, Israeli Spies Are Best: Russian Official


MOSCOW (Reuters) - A high-ranking Russian security official praised British and Israeli spies Wednesday, saying they ranked with Russian agents as the best in the world.

Sergei Ivanov, head of the Security Council which advises President-elect Vladimir Putin, also said spies from the United States had too much money and were spoilt.

"Ours, British and Israeli," Ivanov, a former worker for the KGB Soviet security police, told the Argumenti i Fakti weekly newspaper when asked which country had the best agents.

"British counter-intelligence has an excellent school and traditions, they prepare their agents very well," he said.

He said Israeli agents could get help from Jews the world over, who would not hand the agent over if approached.

"The Americans have too much money. This leads to an impression that everything in the world can be bought and you don't have to use your head," he said.

Spying disputes between the West and Russia are still fairly common although the heyday of the Cold War is long past.

Russia recently arrested a U.S. citizen and a Russian on charges of trying to gain secret information on an underwater sea missile. The Russian FSB counter-intelligence agency also recently announced it had arrested a Russian on charges of working as a spy for Britain.

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