CIA agent detained in Moscow (PHOTO, VIDEO): Scandal to aggravate Russia-US relations and hamper all attempts at cooperation after Boston
"We invited you here for a routine formality that follows the detention by the Federal Security Service (FSB) of people who committed some crime. The case in point is that at 11:30 p.m., this man calling himself a U.S. diplomat phoned an employee and offered him to spy for the United States.
The employee is a trained staff officer engaged in counterterrorist activities in the North Caucasus. After the first call, he rejected the offer. But the man phoned again and insisted that they should meet. He offered him money – 100,000 euro – for espionage. At first, we didn’t believe that this thing could happen. You know well that the FSB is actively assisting in the investigation of the Boston bombings and providing other information that threatens U.S. national security.
FBI directors paid a visit to Moscow recently, during which we agreed to cooperate in combating extremism and so on. Presidents Putin and Obama, in their conversations, agreed upon closer joint efforts between our special services in achieving understanding in matters of cooperation.
Against this background, when relations between are countries are getting stronger, an American diplomat commits a state crime, as we call it, against the Russian Federation. Under the current circumstances with both countries seeking a better relationship and our presidents are striving to improve mutual understanding, this man commits a serious crime here, in Moscow, on behalf of the U.S. government."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he did not discuss at his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Sweden the latest spy scandal involving detention of an American embassy diplomat in Moscow over espionage charges.
"No, this is a topic John Kerry did not touch upon. I, likewise, decided it was pointless talking on the matter, since everything is already public knowledge," - Lavrov told Russian journalists Wednesday.
The Russian Federal Security Service said Tuesday that Ryan Fogle, a CIA agent working undercover as third secretary in the political department at the US embassy, was briefly detained the night of May 13 as he allegedly attempted to recruit an officer from one of Russia's special services, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
Russia declared Fogle persona non grata and called for him to be deported.
The detention of American diplomat Ryan Fogle, allegedly caught red-handed trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer for the CIA may have serious repercussions.
The incident sparks numerous questions, which are yet to be answered, believes Lecturer in National Security Studies at McCormick Technical College Josh Meyer, interviewed by the "Voice of Russia".
"Who is Fogel, was he actually working for the CIA, and did he really try to recruit someone?" – the expert queries.
Meanwhile, says Meyer, the evidence discovered in the detained diplomat’s possession, such as wigs, recording equipment and other, points to the seriousness of the accusations.
Meyer also voiced the opinion that in Fogle’s case diplomatic immunity status may not work.
The U.S. State Department hopes the detention of an employee of the American Embassy in Moscow on suspicion of espionage will not damage relations with Russia, yet refrains from commenting on the details of the case.
"I can only confirm that he was detained and then released. I do not have any more information, and cannot offer any details of the case" – RIA-Novosti quoted State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrella.
Replying to a question whether the incident would be likely to negatively affect bilateral relations, he said: "We are cooperating with Russia on a wide range of issues, and intend to continue this collaboration."
Voice of Russia, RIA
Pavel Danilin, currently working as the head of the Kreml.org Internet site, shares his opinion on the issue with the Voice of Russia. The expert stresses the fact that the time for the CIA’s hiring operation was very badly chosen.
The CIA decided to acquire a new Russian agent at a very sensitive moment – two important events are planned for the next month, June 2013. The first event is the first one-on-one meeting of the newly elected Russian president Putin with his American colleague Barack Obama, which is due to take place in the framework of the G20 summit there. (Before they met only during the period of Putin’s premiership). The second event is a peace conference on Syria, which Putin and the US secretary of state, John Kerry, agreed to hold during Kerry’s recent visit to Moscow.
Here is what Pavel Danilin has to say on this:
“Of course, there is nothing surprising about the fact that the United States is involved in some espionage activities. On the other hand, why did this scandal break out today, when the terrorist acts in Boston are still frsh in people’s memory, when the US officials are trying to mend ties with Russia, when Obama and Putin exchange personal letters, when visits of various levels are being prepared? It was certainly not the best of ideas on the part of the CIA to get more active with its operations in Russia at precisely this moment. The fact that the Russian special services foiled this operation – this fact only indicates that this particular spy went too far. It is a noteworthy fact that this happened on the eve of groundbreaking summits between the two countries. So, this is just a provocation on the side of the CIA. Which other aims could it pursue when sending its agents with a commission to bribe the officers of Russian security services into betraying their own country?”
The State Duma Deputy and former FSB Head Nikolay Kovalyov says that the new spy scandal offers proof that Americans are not ready for full-scale cooperation with Russia:
Russia has demonstrated its readiness to cooperate with the USA, especially in combating terrorism, and the situation with the Tsarnayev brothers is a good example. All information Russia had was passed over to Americans. However, there was no trust in this information, which was the main issue here. Hence, Americans’ desire to recheck this information through secret sources.
As soon as we establish normal relations, Americans will understand that Russia and its special services are well-prepared for cooperation. And the fact that a spy made an attempt to recruit an officer of the Russian special services is convincing evidence that there is certain mistrust on the part of Americans who would like to have secret sources of information at their disposal. There are no questions that could not be answered in the course of interaction.
How widespread is the practice enabling the special services of one country to win over to their side the special services of another country?
The task special services are faced with and the dream any spy has is to obtain asource of information shedding light on the plans and intentions of an alien special service. And to get information about the intentions of others to forestall the enemy is the task the intelligence services of all countries are facing. And still, I want to repeat here once again that it would be wrong to take only this into account. Because there are legal ways of interaction, which make it possible to confirm the purity of thoughts and intentions as well as the willingness to make joint efforts in combating drugs, arms trafficking and terror. Such is the task set before the special services of all countries.
What will happen to the detainee?
I believe that Americans themselves will recall him. This should have no impact on the relations between the two countries or the work of special services. Because there is understanding that responsibility in the prevention of terrorist attacks is great today.
Commenting on today's Russia-US 'espionage crisis' Lev Korolkov, a renowned expert in crisis-management and Colonel of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Services, told the Voice of Russia that Tuesday's detention of the third secretary of US Embassy in Moscow will most definately worsen already very bumply and sensitive relationship between Russia and the US.
Colonel also argued that the number of US recruits in Russia is already very large, which will not contribute to the overall political climate in both countries.
Arsen Martirosyan, historian, writer, and Colonel of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Services, Arsen Martirosyan told the Voice of Russia that that today's incident will most likely exacerbate and temper all the positive developments in US-Russian relations.
Colonel Martirosyan says that while it is impossible to completely eliminate the threat of foreign espionage, Russia's intelligence have acted to the highest standards.
Colonel finished off by asserting that Fogle was most likely engaged in political espionage.
In his interview with the Voice of Russia, Mikhail Lyubimov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, writer, and Colonel of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Services, said that "U.S. intelligence are working very actively and today's incident is hardly surprising."
Colonel continues, "I am glad that today we captured not just a spy, but we also obtained very complex pieces of technology."
Colonel Lyubimov asserts that in the modern days it is a very rare occasion for Russia to detain a foreign spy. However, the same cannot be said of Russia's "friends and allies" such as the US and Britain, who often capture Russian spies on their respective terrotories.
Colonel also claims that if Fogle will officially be found guilty of espionage it would be a great achievement of Russia's FSB.
Nonetheless, Colonel Lyubimov, believes it might not be the case.
Mark Galeotti, a professor at New York University, said the public exposure of Fogle and the pictures splashed across Russian television suggest a political purpose behind the detention. He said these kinds of spying incidents happen with some frequency but making such a big deal of it is rare.
"More often, the etiquette is that these things get dealt with quite quietly – unless they want to get a message out," Galeotti said. "If you identify an embassy staffer who is a spy for the other side, your natural impulse is to leave them be, because once you identify you can keep tabs on them, see who they talk to, and everything else. There's no reason to make a song and dance, detain them, eject them."
Russia and the United States have been at odds lately over Syria, the adoption of Russian children and U.S. sanctions against Russian officials for alleged human rights abuses.
Galeotti, however, said the Fogle case was unlikely to affect the recent increased cooperation between U.S. and Russian counterintelligence agencies over the Boston Marathon bombings and the two suspects behind those attacks, ethnic Chechen brothers from southern Russia.
"Everyone goes into intelligence sharing knowing there's a parallel process where everyone spies on everyone else," he said.
According to the
"Lately American Intelligence service has made several attempts to recruit Russian law-enforcement employees, but they all were controlled by Russian counterintelligence services", announced the FSB.
The detained agent called himself a "career diplomat".
The letter which was found in Fogle's possession proposed a payment of US$100,000 for a prospective Russian rectuit if he or she agreed for an interview to discuss possible cooperation. Further, the letter promised up to $1 million a year if the recrtuit agrees to supply the US establishment with the information it demands.
The letter also contained a step-by-step instruction on how to create a new Gmail account which would be used for future contacts.
The instruction repeatedly urges the prospective 'spy' not to present any real contact information, like phone numbers, email or home addresses.
According to ITV, during a Twitter question and answer session, the US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul has refused to comment on reports that US Embassy employee and American citizen Ryan Fogle has been detained by security services in Moscow.
When asked by a Moscow Times reporter if he could, "confirm / deny or otherwise comment on the FSB statement About Ryan Fogle's Detention?", the Ambassador replied, "no."
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) detained American CIA agent earlier today. The agent turned out to be Ryan Christopher Fogle, the third secretary of the Political Section of the American embassy in Moscow.
Fogle was delivered to the FSB headquarters where he has been questioned and handed over to representatives of the US embassy in Moscow.
FSB stressed that "Christopher had special technical equipment, printed instructions for the Russian citizen being recruited, a large sum of money and means to change the person’s appearance".
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow refused to provide any official comments to the Voice of Russia on the alleged spy detained in Moscow.
Russia's counter-intelligence Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained an operative of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the act of recruiting an officer of a Russian special service.
"On the night of 14th of may the FSB's counter-intelligence service detained a CIA agent, who was working in Moscow under the cover of third secretary of the US Embassy's Political Department. Special technical devices, written instructions for recruited Russian citizens, a large sum of cash and a disguise kit were discovered during the detention. The CIA operative, identified as Ryan Christopher Fogel, was taken to the FSB's reception office "and handed over to U.S. Embassy officials following formal procedures. The CIA has made several attempts lately to recruit officers of Russian law enforcement services and agencies, which were tracked and monitored by the FSB's counterintelligence service," Vasily Bogomolov, member of Russian FSB intelligence agency’s press office, told to The Voice of Russia.
Voice of Russia, RT, ITV