RUSSIA-USA/SPIESIt’s hardly ever been a rock-solid relationship but has had its moments. So what does one do when deceit is discovered but no one wants a divorce?

When Russia was caught engaging in the second oldest profession in the United States the two partners decided that the overall relationship was too important to disintegrate over such an indiscretion. Their answer: swap spies.

But the public story so far has raised questions about why the hurry?

“Looks to me that the Administration was in one mighty big rush to put aside this annoyance in the U.S.-Russian relationship. What a deal. We swap 10 Russians for 4 Russians,” a former U.S. intelligence official says.

“I am not buying the spin that we were anxious because of the ill health of some of those being held in Russia. No indication we were working to spring those folks until we found ourselves in the possession of the U.S. based ring,” he said.

The message appears to be that a Russian who gets caught spying in the United States will get sprung by Moscow in 10 days, while a Russian caught working on behalf of the west may get sprung years later if it suits Moscow’s needs, the former official says.