Most of the 11 people accused by the US of spying for Russia appear to have led middle-class, all-American lives, pursuing businesses, setting up home in leafy surburbs, raising families.
Donald Heathfield (all names here are as given in the indictment) had convinced a business contact in the UK he was an “aggressive American entrepreneur”.
Anna Chapman, the most glamorous of the 11, described herself i as a “start-up” specialist looking to connect young professionals in New York and Moscow, with a business pedigree acquired in the UK.
Moscow confirmed that at least some of the suspects were Russian citizens, but there were few immediate details from within Russia itself.
Here BBC News sketches in some of what is now known about the 11.
Western newspapers pounced on images of this green-eyed, red-haired (as she appears in some pictures) woman on social networking sites. The and a “red hot beauty” was how the New York Post described her.
According to a profile put together by the Russian news website lenta.ru, she is a 28-year-old divorcee (nee Kushchenko), the daughter of a Russian diplomat, and received her higher education in Volgograd and Moscow.
She did not seek to conceal her Russian identity when she arrived in New York from Moscow in February 2010, saying she wanted to build up a recruitment agency targeting young professionals in both cities.
Before that, she said she had lived for five years in the UK, working in the financial sector.
Moving into an apartment within walking distance of Wall Street, she launched on social networks including and Facebook to develop business contacts and market her skills.
On her LinkedIn page, Chapman is listed as the chief executive officer of PropertyFinder Ltd, which maintains a website featuring property listings in Moscow, Spain, Bulgaria and other countries.
“Love launching innovative high-tech start-ups and building passionate teams to bring value into market,” her LinkedIn summary says.
Among dozens of photos posted online is one of Ms Chapman posing with a glass of wine between two men at the – an event that cost more than 1,000 to attend.
An acquaintance in New York's property market, David Hartman, described her as “pleasant, very professional, friendly”.
“There's nothing too crazy about her that I knew of,” he added.
Aged 54 or 55, a Canadian citizen, he is the only one to have been arrested outside the US, picked up in Cyprus by police acting on an Interpol alert as he tried to board a flight to Budapest.
He had been staying alone at a hotel in Larnaca for nearly two weeks and was said by local media to be carrying a US passport.
He is depicted by US prosecutors as the alleged spy ring's shadowy moneyman, visiting the US as early as 2004 to deliver bags of cash to its members.
Lenta.ru describes him as “the most mysterious figure in the story, the spy who at first managed to get away”.
Arrested at their home in Montclair, New Jersey, he is said by US prosecutors to purport to be a US citizen born in Philadelphia and she, a US citizen from New York.
The husband is said to have lived in the US since the mid-1990s and settled in New Jersey.
Neighbors thought Cynthia was a financial consultant who commuted to Manhattan while Richard Murphy was a stay-at-home father, who “seemed kind of lazy”.
They lived with their two primary school-age daughters in a two-storey house on a quiet tree-lined street.
A fresh copy of the newspaper sat on the lawn and a green Honda Civic stood in the driveway, when visited the street after the couple's arrest.
Cynthia “said hello to everybody, there was nobody, nobody she didn't say hello to”, recalled neighbour Elizabeth Lapin.
She “didn't put a lot of time into her looks but she was sweet-looking, very pretty face with light make-up, maybe a little bit of lipstick, nothing profound”, she added.
Another neighbour, Margo Sokolow, said the daughters had played with other children.
“They would ride their bikes, they had little pink bikes and they would ride around the neighbourhood.”
Believed to be both in their 40s, they were living with their two teenage children in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to and .
They were both business partners in , a think tank that tries to predict the shape of tomorrow's technologies, and had also been members of a board at the , a non-profit organisation that encourages scientific advancements.
Rafael Ramirez, of the Oxford Futures Forum in the UK, has told the BBC he was in regular professional contact with Mr Heathfield over internet security and strategy programmes.
“He came across as an American entrepreneur, quite an aggressive American entrepreneur, trying to work internationally,” Mr Ramirez said.
“I'm either very, very bad at second-guessing who is a Russian spy or he hid it very well.”
David Bookbinder, who knew Mr Heathfield through work, said of the spying allegation: “At the time if someone would have said to me out of the blue 'You know, do you think he is this?', I would have said 'No'.
“Looking back at it now, it is a possibility. I think if I had to pick anybody out of the people I used to work with I would say it would be him because he was very closed off and kind of to himself.”
US prosecutors said Mrs Foley, who purported to be Canadian, had travelled on a fake British passport, an allegation UK authorities were investigating.
Born in Peru, Vicky Pelaez, 55, works as a journalist for El Diario La Prensa, a New York-based Spanish-language newspaper.
She is best known for her opinion columns, which often criticise the US government.
During the 1980s, she made a name for herself in Peru at the Frecuencia Latina TV channel where she was renowned for her controversial, aggressive style of reporting.
According to US prosecutors, Mr Lazaro (age not given) purports to be a Peruvian citizen, born in Uruguay, but was once overheard in his home saying in an unguarded moment: “We moved to Siberia… as soon as the war started.”
Jonathan Kroll, a man who knows them in Yonkers, New York, described the couple as “regular nice neighbours”.
He said he had heard that Mr Lazaro told people he was a “professor of economics”.
Waldo Mariscal, who is an adult son of Ms Pelaez, said his mother was innocent and dismissed the spy case as a “farce”.
Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills were arrested in Arlington, Virginia, where they were living with their infant son.
They had moved there from Seattle after taking an advanced finance course at the University of Washington.
Celest Allred, a neighbour on the ninth floor of the apartment block where they lived, said she had guessed “they were Russian because they had Russian accents”.
The newspaper reports that the couple “did an Oscar-worthy job of maintaining their cover as a boring young Seattle couple slavishly devoted to their toddler son”.
In his job at a telecom firm in Seattle, Mr Zottoli was “known as somewhat grumpy and distractible”.
“To co-workers, Zottoli seemed henpecked, constantly taking cellphone calls at work,” the paper says.
“My wife, he would explain in a thick accent, then walk outside for privacy.”
Ms Mills, according to the paper, was a housewife who “complained about the smokers downstairs and about upstairs neighbors overwatering their plants”.
Like Anna Chapman, the youthful Mikhail Semenko, who also lived in Arlington, apparently made no secret of his Russian nationality.
He is believed to have entered the US in 2008 and was working at a travel agency called .
On , he describes himself as “multilingual with native expertise in Russian, fluency in English, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, and intermediate skills in German and Portuguese”.
His interests are listed as “non-profits, think tanks, public policy, advocacy and educational institutions”.