The revelations have caused embarrassment in Moscow, not so much because Russia was caught spying on America, but because it did it so clumsily. Old KGB spies this week lamented the decline in professional standards. But the scandal has rather more serious domestic implications too. It punctures the mystique that helped allow the security services to gain such clout under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s former president and present prime minister and a former KGB spy. The story discredits him and his circle of siloviki, the former and present members of the security services. Being laughed at is worse than being feared.