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The Spy Case That Made Adam Schiff a Russia Hawk

Three decades before he railed against the Trump campaign, the future congressman prosecuted an FBI agent who was seduced by a Soviet spy.

Zach Dorfman is a senior staff writer at the Aspen Institute’s Cyber & Technology Program and senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

Adam Schiff is pictured on a red backdrop with a hammer and sickle and Kremlin in the foreground.

Politico illustration; Getty Images; iStock

On September 25, 1984, three officials from the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco departed for San Francisco Airport to meet with their counterparts from Seattle and exchange confidential “pouched” diplomatic materials.

This exchange happened every other Tuesday, andeach time, the Soviets were tailed by a van full of San Francisco-based FBI counterintelligence officials. Although the FBI knew the Soviets were aware of this surveillance, the Bureau didn’t try to conceal it either, according to the Los Angeles Times, which recounted this event from later court testimony.

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