Russian news agency reveals name of CIA station chief in Moscow
May 20, 2013 7 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A Russian news agency revealed the name of the alleged station chief of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Moscow, but then deleted the information from its website. Russia Today, a multilingual Moscow-based television network funded by the Russian government, hosted an interview on May 17 with an anonymous representative of the FSB, the Russian Federal Security Service. The FSB official was commenting on the case of Ryan Fogle, an alleged CIA case officer who was detained in downtown Moscow by the FSB on the evening of Monday, April 13. The Russians claim that Fogle, who held the post of Third Secretary of the Political Department of the United States embassy in Moscow, was trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer. Russia Today quoted the FSB official as saying that Fogle’s operations “crossed the red line and [the FSB] had no choice but to react [by] observing official procedures”. He added that Fogle had been detected trying to recruit Russian government employees in as early as 2011. At that time, the anonymous source told Russia Today the FSB had “decided to warn [its] American colleagues and ask them to stop these activities”. The warning, he said, had been delivered by the FSB directly to the CIA station chief in Moscow; the article then proceeded to name the American official. International media are not bound by the 1982 US Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it a federal crime to intentionally reveal the identity of individuals engaged in covert roles with US intelligence agencies. However, publicly revealing the identity of senior intelligence officials during peacetime is highly irregular and frowned upon, even among adversaries. The BBC, which reported on the revelation, described the move as a “breach of diplomatic protocol”. It noted, however that it is unclear whether the outed CIA station chief, who the FSB said it warned about Fogle in 2011, remains in that post in Moscow today. Interestingly, less than four hours after Russia Today aired the article containing the name of the alleged CIA station chief, it replaced the piece with an edited version that did not contain the name. Writing on his personal website, veteran intelligence researcher Matthew Aid expressed the opinion that “someone in the Russian intelligence community almost certainly called up [Russia Today] and asked them to delete the name”. American government officials have refused comment on the story. A US Department of State spokesperson said simply: “we still feel that we have a very positive relationship [with Russia], and one that we can continue to work together on areas where we agree”.