Where To Next for Russian Agent Anna Chapman

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Deported Russian sleeper agent Anna Chapman has arrived in Moscow, and the redheaded soubrette is planning to stay with her family in Russia “for a while,” her lawyer, federal public defender Robert M. Baum, tells Declassified. But Chapman does have a British passport, Baum confirms—and he indicates that she may eventually seek to use that document to visit or possibly move to Britain. Baum indicates that it’s not clear to him what the future will hold for Chapman, whose looks and extensive Internet trail made her a poster girl for the Russian spy case before it was resolved this week in an elaborately choreographed exchange of secret agents between Washington and Moscow. In the past, Chapman has worked in finance and—supposedly—real estate, though some news reports suggested she may have exaggerated her background.

Available evidence suggests that Chapman obtained her British passport legally, through her four-year marriage to Briton Alex Chapman. According to London’s Evening Standard, however, the British government has launched an investigation into her case and, at least theoretically, could try to block her from resettling in the U.K. The newspaper quoted a spokesman for Britain’s principal internal-security department, the Home Office, saying: “The Home Secretary has the right to deprive dual nationals of their British citizenship where she considers that to do so would be conducive to the public good. This case is under urgent consideration."

A person familiar with British government policy, requesting anonymity when discussing sensitive information, tells Declassified that even though Chapman’s passport may have been legally obtained, the British government conceivably could figure out some way to bar her on the grounds that her presence in Britain would not “be conducive to the public good.” Nevertheless, the person says, the bar would be very high for any effort to strip Chapman of her passport. It’s not clear how extensively British authorities have examined Chapman’s circumstances so far.

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington says he can’t comment on individual cases.