Tim Foley, a GW student whose parents were convicted of being Russian spies in the largest revealed espionage plot since the end of the Cold War, is enrolled in classes for the fall semester, a University spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
“Tim Foley is studying international affairs and has been enrolled from the fall 2008 – [fall 2010],” University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard told The Hatchet.
Despite his enrollment status, it is unclear whether Foley will actually be returning to the University when classes begin Aug. 30.
On Wednesday, the Boston Herald reported that Foley likely knew about the Russian spy plot that captivated the American public this summer. FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers told the Herald “it’s logical to presume, and we suspect that he knew something, yes, toward the end.”
The Russian spy story began in June, when 10 people living in the U.S. were arrested for allegedly assuming false identities with “conspiracy to act as unregistered agents of a foreign government” and “conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova were two of those arrested, and had been living as a married couple in Cambridge, Mass., under the names Donald Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley. The couple had two children – Foley, 20, an international affairs major at GW, and Alex, 16, a high school student at the private International School of Boston.
One week after the arrests, the couple pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York and were immediately deported. Four western spies who had been imprisoned in Russia in the 1990s were exchanged for 10 American spies in Vienna July 9, the largest U.S.-Russia spy swap since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general, said that all children of those arrested – at least eight individuals – were in or headed to Russia at the time of the swap. Foley, who was given custody of his brother at the time, was allowed to choose whether he would join his parents or stay in the U.S.
“To the extent that they had the ability to make choices, they were old enough to make them, they made their decisions and they’ve gone back with their parents,” Holder said in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
According to various reports, the catalyst for the arrest, which had been in the planning phase for months, involved Foley and his father. An FBI official told the Associated Press that Bezrukov had made plans to travel with his “college-age son” to Moscow in late June and that there was a substantial belief that at least Bezrukov would not be returning. After receiving the tip, government officials moved in on their plans to arrest the individuals.
Since the media whirlwind surrounding the case began, Foley has repeatedly declined to comment about his situation.
Friends of Foley – who spent this past spring studying Chinese at the GW China Studies Institute in Beijing – told The Hatchet in July that the incoming junior was a normal college student.
One friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Foley was an ambitious student who was fluent in French and German, was an excellent artist and “always seemed to be surrounded by friends.”
According to the student, Foley told friends he had been born in Toronto, spent time living in France and went to high school in Boston.
When asked whether Foley could have known that his parents were involved in the spying ring, the friend – who lived with Foley in Lafayette Hall during their freshman year – said it was more plausible that he didn’t.
“I can’t recall any instance where something would raise an eyebrow,” he said.