Alleged CIA officer arrested in Moscow in Russian sting operation
May 15, 2013 14 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Russia has accused an American diplomat of secretly working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) following his arrest during a sting operation in Moscow. The diplomat, who was expelled from Russia on Tuesday, is Ryan Christopher Fogle; he held the post of Third Secretary of the Political Department of the United States embassy in the Russian capital. He was detained on Monday evening by counterintelligence officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Fogle’s arrest marked the first time in nearly a decade that espionage charges were leveled against an American government employee in Russia. Fogle, a 29-year-old native of St. Lous, Missouri, who graduated from Colgate University in New York in 2006, was arrested by the FSB in Moscow’s Akademika Pilyugina Street, allegedly right in front of an apartment complex reserved for foreign diplomatic personnel. He is accused by the FSB of conspiring to recruit a member of the Russian intelligence services, who is allegedly an antiterrorist expert working in Russia’s North Caucasus region. The FSB told Russian media that Fogle had communicated with his would-be recruit on the phone at least twice in the days prior to the sting operation. The FSB even took the extremely unusual step of airing footage of Fogle’s arrest on Russian state-run television. The American diplomat was shown pinned on the ground, wearing a blonde wig and baseball cap, while FSB officers handcuffed him. A second video released by the FSB, shows Fogle sitting quietly in a government office, in the presence of three other American government officials, including Michael Klecheski, Chief Political Officer at the US embassy in Moscow. All four of them are shown staring in silence, while an FSB official is expressing his strong displeasure over Fogle’s alleged espionage activities. According to the FSB, when Fogle was arrested, he was found to be carrying a backpack containing —among other things— his diplomatic identification card, two wigs, three pairs of sunglasses, recording devices, an RFID shield, a compass and a knife. He was also carrying three Ziploc bags filled with $100,000 in €500 notes, as well as a letter, written in Russian, addressed to his would-be recruit. The letter, which has been translated into English by RT, offers the would-be recruit $100,000 upfront for his help and promises him a yearly income of up to $1 million, should he choose to collaborate with Washington. The addressee is also instructed to contact the US embassy after opening a new anonymous Gmail account by visiting “an Internet café or a café with a WiFi connection”. He is also asked to purchase a new computer or mobile device for this purpose, and is assured that the US government will reimburse him for his purchase. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that Fogle’s “provocative actions [were] in the spirit of the Cold War” and “in no way help to strengthen mutual trust” between America and Russia. The ministry also said it had summoned US Ambassador to Moscow, Michael A. McFaul, to a meeting to discuss Fogle’s arrest. The US diplomat has been declared persona non grata and has already left the country. It was unclear last night whether the US would respond to Moscow’s move by expelling a Russian diplomat from Washington.