[Guest post by DRJ]
The AP summarizes the Russian spy swap story (emphasis supplied):
“The Russian agents had been under observation by U.S. authorities for a decade. The decision to move against them was precipitated by indications that some planned to leave the United States this summer, the official said.
Within days of the arrests on June 27, the United States offered to talk with Russia about an exchange of the 10 people in custody for four people held in Russian on charges that they had spied for the United States. CIA Director Leon Panetta and Russia’s spy chief worked out the exchange, the largest spy swap since the Cold War, a separate U.S. official said.
Panetta had already developed a sound relationship with Mikhail Fradkov, head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, that allowed them to quickly clinch the deal, which traded the 10 Russian sleeper agents for the four prisoners in Russia.”
Credit to Leon Panetta, whose group apparently came up with the idea and helped implement it.