And though as of today this story is still relegated to the hinterland of the 24-hour news cycle - Thanks to Donald Trump, as always, monopolizing the headlines, this time with his own Russian folly - its implications are huge - and terrifying.
The spy, 29-year-old Mariia Butina,
And the biggest, most prized target was then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Mariia Butina became a player in what the New York Times called "a multi-faceted Russian effort to sway the election through computer espionage, personal overtures and the assistance of American intermediaries."
She posed as an impassioned guns rights advocate,
...who helped her to become the darling of conservative shakers and movers and to insinuate herself into pro-Trump circles.
According to the New York Times, "Ms. Butina viewed the N.R.A. as a powerful force for shifting Republican policies...the largest sponsor of the elections to the U.S. Congress and as a sponsor of the Conservative Action Conference." Mariia Butina and Alexander Torshin were invited to events hosted by Republican-affiliated groups, including two National Prayer Breakfasts in 2016 and 2017. Through her N.R.A. connections and right-wing Christian Evangelical connections Butina was able to infiltrate other conservative organizations with the purpose of steering the Republican party towards a pro-Russia agenda.
The main assignment towards which she was working was the establishment of "back channel" lines of communication between Russian operatives and American politicians so that, according to the Times, "these lines could be used by Russia to penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of Russia."
And with the help of the Republican politicians, N.R.A. officials, and Evangelical Christians with whom she ingratiated herself she might well have succeeded to this end if not for the work of our intelligence community and our Justice system, so frequently and harshly maligned by the man who is supposed to be our leader, the chief defender and steward of our nation's well-being.
And yet here's the irony: Terrorists may have the ability to hurt individual citizens, but terrorists can never bring down our country or destroy our American Democracy. They have not the means for that.
Someone like this does, and so is far more dangerous and terrifying than any terrorist.
targeted - correctly so, as is now evident - as low-hanging, easily plucked fruit?
Hint: It's not the Democrats.