04:46 GMT +316 October 2019
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    This photo taken on May 7, 2013 shows Russian and the US flags running up as the US Secretary of State arrives at Moscow Vnukovo Airport

    Russian Embassy to Ask State Dept About Alleged Diplomats' Role in Hacking FBI Systems

    © AFP 2019 / Mladen Antonov
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Russian Embassy in the United States intends to ask the US State Department for clarifications in connection with media reports about the alleged involvement of diplomatic mission's employees in hacking FBI communication systems, the embassy's press service said.

    On Monday, Yahoo News portal reported, citing former US officials, that in December 2016, the Barack Obama administration had given over 30 Russian diplomats just 72 hours to leave the United States, because several compounds in the United States belonging to the Russian government and at least some of the expelled diplomats had played key roles in a Russian counterintelligence operation.

    The operation reportedly targeted FBI communications systems and allegedly hampered the bureau’s ability to track Russian spies in the United States. As a result of the operation, the FBI and CIA were reportedly forced to cease contacts with some of their Russian assets. The operation also prompted the strengthening of security measures at key national security facilities in the Washington area and other places.

    "A number of groundless accusations contained in the article against diplomats and members of their families pose a direct threat to their safety. We intend to ask the State Department for clarifications in connection with the fact that such provocative publications can lead to acts of violence against embassy staff and their loved ones," the embassy said.

    The embassy drew attention to the fact that the authors of the article did not provide a single fact or evidence of a violation by Russian citizens of the norms and laws of the United States, and called it "a clumsy attempt to justify the seizure of Russian diplomatic property through the spy mania."

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously called fantastic such media reports about the alleged use of "dachas" or compounds by Russian diplomats to spy on the FBI.

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    diplomatic mission, FBI files, FBI, hacking
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