American Universities have always been proud to welcome global students into their community, but with reports of foreign agents from Russia entering these school as professors and students, it is difficult to determine the reliability of this practice. These alleged spies are under suspicion for using the academic system to get close to current and future influential figures in the United States and gain certain benefits in the process, such as information to report back to those who recruited them.
While there are a number of ways to gain access to the plethora of information available in the United States, many have discovered that the least risky access to it is through the lax academic system. Professors and students are often viewed to have the most potential to rise up in the world as future politicians and researchers, and so the Russians seem to view academia as a safe way to make connections and be where they need to in order to please those they are working for by delivering relevant information.
One example of this situation comes from Columbia Business School, where a student by the name of Cynthia Murphy was discovered to be a Russian woman by the name of Lydia Guryeva. Guryeva seamlessly integrated herself into a key fundraiser for the 2008 presidential campaign in support of Hillary Clinton.