In what the Wall Street Journal calls “the final chapter of a saga worthy of a spy novel,” the U.S. and Russia made of their largest prisoner swaps since the Cold War. A U.S. flight believed to be carrying 10 deported Russian agents and a Russian plane thought to have four prisoners aboard landed briefly in Vienna today, apparently exchanging agents before departing again, the Associated Press reported.
The deal–to exchange the Russian spies who were arrested in the U.S. June 27 for prisoners being held in Russia–came after high-level negotiations led by Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta and his counterpart in Moscow. The case’s end will not result in a big payday for the spies arrested in the U.S. Their plea agreement calls for them to surrender any rights to or proceeds from their story of suburban espionage. They must also surrender their homes, cars, and bank accounts.