Are you a fan of the TV show “The Americans” perchance? “The Americans” is a show about a normal suburban husband and wife trying to raise a family while dealing with family issues and job issues while also struggling to keep their darkest secrets from being discovered by their nosy neighbors. Except that in the case of “The Americans” the dark secrets worth hiding are not about alcoholism or domestic abuse or perverse sexuality or cheating on their taxes, but about the fact that in reality this average suburban American family are Soviet spies from Russia. Turns out that this scenario is hardly some Hollywood screenwriter’s fantastically unrealistic MacGuffin for creating drama. The suburbs of America really have been infiltrated by Russian spies masquerading as Ozzie and Harriet. And it didn’t stop with the fall of the Soviet Union. If your imagination has been sparked by the idea proposed in “The Americans” you might well be interested in knowing that you can actually buy a house formerly occupied by Russian spies essentially living the reality of the fictional TV show.
The operation went under the code name Ghost Stories within the FBI halls at Quantico. Ghost Stories was the name given to the FBI surveillance program to detect Russian Foreign Intelligence Service agents engaging in deep cover espionage that involved assimilation into the very fabric of American society under the guise of ordinary, boring middle-class existences. And all the while these people secretly spying on the U.S. government for the Russian government. Exactly like the spies in “The Americans” except that they were not godless communists, but just godless Russkies. Operation Ghost Stories rooted out many of the illegal agents posing on American citizens and as part of the criminal investigation leading to deportation, one of the assets seized landed alongside the cars and homes and planes forfeited by drug dealers and smugglers and other various criminal types on the U.S. Marshals Service forfeited assets auction page.
To everyone who met them, Richard and Cynthia Murphy seemed like the typical American couple. They bought a house in Montclair, New Jersey that was built back in 1950 and, as typical American couples are prone to do, updated the home’s kitchen to reflect the new century. That home features four bedrooms, an attached garage, unfinished basement and two stories worth of countless stories of real life espionage intrigue . The original price for the listing was $445,000 but the home has been discounted down to $355,00 because it does need some repair investments before it is totally suitable for living. Well, the discounted price does reflect the home’s status as something of a fixer-upper, but then there is the fact that who knows what kind of surveillance equipment may still be hiding somewhere inside the structure. Anybody who successfully makes a bid for Richard and Cynthia Murphy’s Russian spy house may well find out one day in the future that not only is Creepy Uncle Google watching every they move they make, but so is the U.S. government and the Russian government.
Of course, one must assume that the former Russian spy house up for auction under the auspices of the U.S. Marshals Service has been exterminated not only of any infestation by bugs that creep and crawl, but also of any bugs that may have been listening in on private conversations taking place within the Murphy household.
The point being that the home in Montclair, New Jersey formerly occupied by Russian spies going under the assumed names of Richard and Cynthia Murphy that was the site of a real-life deep cover espionage story almost exactly like the fictional story told on “The Americans” may well still contain surveillance technology. You have the opportunity to get a little closer to your favorite show “The Americans” by actually bidding on and buying and moving into a house that was the headquarters for a similar spy story taking place in real life, but it would be simply foolish to assume that just because Operation Ghost Stories brought that story to a close that all surveillance technology had actually been dismantled.
It is probably safe to assume that the Russian spies living in the home in Montclair, New Jersey became the target of FBI wiretaps and surveillance as a result of a series of court-ordered warrants. It would probably be more prudent to assume that if you buy the home of those Russian spies masquerading as Americans that you will not be subject to such constitutional protection of the invasion of your privacy . It may very well be true that all surveillance equipment and technology placed inside the Murphy home in New Jersey has been removed since their exposure as Russian spies. But such an unexpected consideration of privacy issues by the law enforcement officials of the U.S. government hardly means that anyone who goes through the U.S. Marshals Service asset forfeiture auction program to buy the house should feel one-hundred percent safe from governmental intrusion into their privacy. If the years since the attacks of 9/11 have taught us anything, it is that to become the target of surveillance by the government or its bosses in Big Business, you do not have to be the Americans who are really Russian spies operating under deep cover.
You merely have to be the Americans.