Wigging Out

Russia claims it arrested a CIA spy earlier this week:

Photographs quickly circulated of Fogle in custody, along with a disguise and gear — including two wigs, sunglasses, a knife and cell phone, a map of Moscow, a microphone, and an aluminum RFID shield.

Julia Ioffe is struck by the cartoonish nature of Fogle’s spy gear:

“Oh, you should talk to [former Moscow CIA station chief] Burt Gerber,” one espionage specialist exuberantly suggested. “He invented the pop-up kit!” The pop-up kit, if you must know, is what the Agency used in Moscow at the height of the Cold War: because all cars coming out of the U.S. embassy were tailed by the KGB, the American spook would have a driver who would make a sharp turn, the spy would jump out and disappear into a crowd, and a contraption in the shape of a human would pop up in the passenger’s seat. Then, there was the “spy rock,” in 2006. The Russians alleged that the British were using a rock to spy on them. It was all very funny until last year, when the Brits confirmed that, yes, in fact the rock had been spying on the Russians.