Dead Drop: July 5

THE VIENNA (BAD) BOYS CHOIR: If you have access to The Wall Street Journal, you might want to check out the lengthy article published behind the paywall headlined “A Den of Spies: Vienna Emerges as Hub for Russian Espionage.” Our initial reaction was: emerges? Since Vienna has long been the focus of espionage – it is, after all, the home of the Bridge of Spies. But apparently, the spy business is booming.  Sources tell the WSJ that over the past two years, the number of acknowledged Russian officials working in the city has grown to over 500 from the previous 300 to 400.  And the sources estimate that up to half of that number are spies.  The number of operatives not operating under diplomatic cover is unknown – but likely large. So, why is the spy business booming there?  Well, the Journal says that espionage is legal in Austria “as long as it isn’t directed against Austria itself.”

OFF SIDES:  According to The Express tabloid in the U.K., a Russian intelligence gathering ship, the Vasily Tatischev, has been spotted in the Baltic, lingering just outside German and Danish territorial waters.  Why?  No one has said – but The Express speculated that the snooping might be tied to the Euro 2024 football championship taking place in Germany this month. What is the connection? Beats us.  But the Vasily Tatischev is reportedly equipped with eavesdropping equipment designed to listen in on cell phone communications. Maybe the Russians are trying to pick up some inside information on the Euro 24 players so they can get some bets down on the FanDuel or DraftKings sports books?

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