Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/23/spying_rock/
Russians arrest one in James Bond rock scandal
UK diplomats interfaced with Wi-Fi stone, says Rosa Klebb
Readers who are fans of the old school of espionage - where blokes called Smiley directed chaps in thick overcoats to dead letter drops and nuclear scientists were brought in from the cold through the Iron Curtain in the boots of Trabants - have undoubtedly been following the tremendous tale of the spying Brit diplomats and their amazing magic spy rock.
For those of you who have not yet caught the unfolding international scandal, the BBC reports that a Russian TV documentary has firmly fingered Brit diplomats in Russia for "spying" - an accusation backed up by the country's FSB state security service which said that "everything that was shown [in the programme] was true and based on our information".
According to the Russians, four UK embassy officials and one Russian citizen have been gathering unspecified intelligence which will doubtless be of use later when the time comes for Sean Connery to put on his gas mask and swipe the Lektor cypher machine.
Accordingly, it's only right that at this point Q should enter stage left saying "Now pay attention 007" while pointing meaningfully at an innocent-looking rock on his desk.
Yes, that's right, not only have we been John le Carréing it up in Moscow but our embassy chaps have been downloading classified material from a hi-tech rock (seen left) planted in a Moscow street. More specifically, the TV programme claims the five ne'er-do-wells in question "downloaded classified data from a transmitter in the rock onto palm-top computers". Their Russian agent (codename "Rock-bottom"?) is then "caught on camera carrying it away".
Technical details on the rock are not forthcoming, although one unnamed FSB operative assured the TV the Bondesque device was "absolutely new spy technology".
For the record, the rock-carrying Russian has now been arrested, so we think it's only a matter of time before a combination of KGB-developed mind-control techniques and Red Grant bearing an axe get the truth out of him.
Which makes the Foreign Office's protests that it has no idea whatsoever about Wi-Fi rocks rather pointless. Better to 'fess up now and see if we can't arrange an exchange of hostages at Checkpoint Charlie: you send us our Russian rock bloke and we'll hand over Roman Abramovic. ®