Of all the news that’s been reported so far this week, perhaps the most interesting story has been that of the alleged Russian spy ring that was busted.

In case you haven’t already heard this story worthy of a Cold War thriller, 11 alleged Russian secret agents were recently arrested, and they were living among us. Well, not literally among us here in La Salle County, but in average neighborhoods in suburbs throughout the United States.

This news got me thinking about what these alleged spies might have learned from their time infiltrating “real America” instead of some government agency.

Based solely on what’s been in the news lately, here are some of the things those “spies like us” might have learned – or think they learned – about America:

We curse a lot – and they wouldn’t have to listen to the Blagojevich trial recordings to find that out. All they would have to do is interact with us.

Same goes for the results of a new study showing Illinoisans – and Americans in general – are fatter than ever. Thanks for confirming the obvious, study researchers. The spies could’ve just looked at us to figure that one out.

Of course, the spies surely learned that we are upset with BP – and probably secretly rooted on the Gulf oil disaster. They might have even gone out of their way to fill up their gas tanks at a BP gas station.

And while they might not have understood it, the spies certainly were exposed to our society’s obsession with celebrities. Though something tells me people from other countries understand the celebrity obsession more than they want to admit. They just make celebrities out of different kinds of people.

Speaking of which, did you hear Megan Fox married Brian Austin Green in a secret Hawaiian ceremony? You know the spies did, even if they were in jail by then. From what I understand, those holding cells have televisions. So now I’m thinking they’re thinking Hawaii is a hotbed for secrets, since the island state is also hiding Barack Obama’s secret birth certificate from another country, right?

(Hold the hate mail, please – that was a joke.)

Probably of much interest to the Russians was the relationship between our political figures and their constituents. I’m sure they love the discontent breeding in the tea parties and the seemingly nonstop arguing and finger pointing between Democrats and Republicans.

Well, that came to a brief halt with the changing of command in Afghanistan. The spies probably wringed their hands with glee as Gen. Stanley McChrystal and some of his aides were quoted in “Rolling Stone” making derogatory comments about members of the Obama administration. But that mood had to change almost immediately after Obama said he wants Gen. David Petraeus to replace McChrystal. The Petraeus pick has been almost universally lauded by politicians of both major political parties.

Who would’ve thought that war could bring the two sides together? May that be the last thing those spies learned about us.

Fortunately they were arrested before the “Twilight” craze was renewed. If they hadn’t been, our collective reputation surely would’ve been shot.

This column was also published in today’s edition of Ottawa Delivered.

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