Naveed Jamali, author of the book How to Catch a Russian Spy, became a double agent for the FBI back in 2005, working alongside Russian intelligence and feeding whatever he learned back to the FBI. His Russian contacts, Jamali recalls, were resolutely opposed to any electronic communication.
“They believed that electronic communications, including cell phones and email, were closely monitored and were absolutely adamant they were not to be used,” Jamali says. When he did communicate with anyone over the phone, it was often to set up an in-person meeting, where the real substance of the conversation would take place.
“Just because there’s an innocuous sounding conversation with a Russian diplomat doesn’t prove the guilt or innocence,” Jamali says. “The crux of the conversation is going to come in person.”