WASHINGTON — They had lived for more than a decade in American cities and suburbs from Seattle to New York, where they seemed to be ordinary couples working ordinary jobs, chatting to the neighbors about gardening and schools, apologizing for noisy teenagers.
But on Monday, federal prosecutors accused 11 people of being part of a Russian espionage ring, living under false names and deep cover in a patient scheme to penetrate what one coded message called American “policy making circles.”
An F.B.I. investigation that began at least seven years ago culminated with the arrest on Sunday of 10 people in Yonkers, Boston and northern Virginia. The documents detailed what the authorities called the “Illegals Program,” an ambitious, long-term effort by the S.V.R., the successor to the Soviet K.G.B., to plant Russian spies in the United States to gather information and recruit more agents.