BFF-04 Suspected Russian spy found working in US embassy in Moscow: reports

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BFF-04

US-RUSSIA-MOSCOW-EMBASSY-ESPIONAGE-DIPLOMACY

Suspected Russian spy found working in US embassy in Moscow: reports

WASHINGTON, Aug 3, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A suspected Russian spy worked at the
US embassy in Moscow for a decade before being quietly dismissed last year,
reports said Thursday.

The woman, a Russian national, was hired by the Secret Service and came
under suspicion following a routine security sweep carried out by the State
Department, according to sources quoted by the Guardian, which broke the
story, and CNN.

The probe found she was having regular unauthorized meetings with the main
Russian intelligence agency, the FSB.

“We figure that all of them are talking to the FSB, but she was giving them
way more information than she should have,” an official told CNN.

The woman had access to the Secret Service’s intranet and email systems,
the reports said, giving her a window into potentially sensitive data
including the schedules of the US president and vice president.

But “she did not have access to highly classified information,” the source
told CNN.

The Guardian meanwhile reported the Secret Service attempted to contain the
embarrassment by letting her go when Russia ordered the removal of 750
personnel from the American embassy during a diplomatic spat that followed
allegations of Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

“The Secret Service is trying to hide the breach by firing [her],” a source
told the British newspaper.

“The damage was already done but the senior management of the Secret
Service did not conduct any internal investigation to assess the damage and
to see if [she] recruited any other employees to provide her with more
information.”

Queried by AFP, the US State Department said they were looking into the
report but do not comment on intelligence matters.

Relations between the US and Russia have been particularly fraught since
the election of Donald Trump, despite the president’s personal warmth with
his counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The Cold War era rivals are also deeply divided on issues ranging from the
conflict in Syria to the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the Iran
nuclear deal.

BSS/AFP/MRI/0803 hrs