On Thursday unmarked SUVs surrounded a Maryland property belonging to the Russian Embassy to the United States to send a clear signal: Russians are not welcome any more.The Obama administration designated the vacation retreat as a compound used for ‘spying purposes’ without expanding on what kind of spying was going on in the remote location.
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) December 29, 2016
Unsurprisingly, it is extremely difficult to justify intelligence gathering here, as no military base or government building can be found anywhere nearby and everyone in the neighborhood has known for decades that the spot is a retreat for Russian diplomats and their families. If you had been a spy, coming here would be the best way to blow your cover. Nevertheless, this quaint family vacation spot is what the US has targeted in their latest round of sanctions.
Google maps gives a detailed look at this 'spy nest,' revealing several wooden summer houses and a 1920s Georgian-style abode to be the home of some of Russia’s most lethal weapons, including lush magnolia, cypress, and boxwood trees. With great views and perfectly-charbroiled steaks on the way, maybe the Obamas want to spend some vacation time there themselves.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) December 30, 2016
However, the Obama administration felt that enough is enough, and it was time to put an end to these egregious activities. Russian diplomats, after all, should not have too much fun while in the US, as, otherwise, they might like it here and become too friendly with Americans, something that the outgoing administration has worked hard to prevent at all costs — even if it seriously complicates the lives of US diplomats in Russia. After all, there’s no doubt that Moscow will take similar measures toward Americans, as the diplomatic tradition requires. But who cares, if you can have another great headline, and show how tough you are on the Russians. And their barbeque.