FSB catches CIA Agent Controller red handed
According to the FSB the CIA officer who was arrested was one Ryan Christopher Fogle who was working for the CIA under official cover as the Third Secretary of the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
The Political Section of the US Embassy, headed by one Michael Klecheski, according to the embassy site, reportedly: “… interprets Russia's major foreign, defense and security policies. Analyzes and reports on significant events and trends in Russian domestic politics (elections, political parties, Kremlin-regional relations, media, human rights etc.) and consists of three units: External Affairs, Political-Military Affairs, Internal Affairs.”
While the CIA may place an agent or officer under official cover in any position, even ambassador, it is important to note that the section this particular agent was working in would have been responsible for whatever operations the US has connected to the recent Russian opposition and meddling in the elections processes in Russia.
The FSB reports that that when Fogle was arrested he had in his possession technical devices, objects to disguise his appearance, a large sum of cash and instructions written in Russian for the person he was supposed to recruit.
The FSB was not specific on the exact nature of the technical devices but from photographs published
The most interesting and damning object in the possession of Fogle was a letter in Russian detailing the new “spy’s” relationship with the CIA. The letter starts out Dear Friend, and explains that “this” is an advance from “those who are extremely impressed with your professionalism”, the letter continues that the US is ready to pay the $100, 000 to discuss experience and cooperation but that they amount could be much higher if the source is able to answer concrete questions. The letter says that they are ready to pay $1 million dollars a year for long term cooperation with bonus money for information that “helps us”.
The letter then details how to set up an anonymous Gmail account, in an internet café and to write to the address unbacggdA[at]gmail.com and then wait exactly one week and check for an answer.
The letter closes by saying: “Thank you for reading this. We are very anxious for the opportunity to be working with you in the near future. Your friends”.
The implications of the entire case are extremely damaging for the US and for their “covert” operations in Russia. The fact that a political officer at the embassy was used for cover is so old school that it is not even worth commenting on, what is interesting is the apparent desperation the CIA is operating under in attempting to obtain intelligence about Russia.
What is also interesting as far as tradecraft is concerned is the use of internet cafés and G-Mail accounts to communicate with agent controllers at the CIA. The name of the CIA Google mail account is also interesting as it gives insight into CIA naming conventions and code.
The FSB reports that: “Recently, the U.S. intelligence community has repeatedly attempted to recruit employees of Russian law enforcement agencies and special departments,” and that these attempts have been, “… recorded and passed to FSB Counter-Intelligence.”
It is not surprising that the CIA is desperate to recruit agents and spies what with new anti-corruption measures in Russia, the exposure of plots and groups exposed which attempted to foment and bring about color revolution scenarios, the expulsion of USAID and the widespread internal meddling they were discovered to be engaged in and the recent laws on NGOs and foreign agents. All of these things have made it difficult for the US Government, the CIA and the US Embassy to fulfill their secret objectives within the territory of the Russian Federation.
With the expulsion of USAID and new strict reporting measures regarding NGOs, there are less holes in the security architecture of Russia that are available to be exploited by foreign intelligence agencies. Although Russia has repeatedly offered to cooperate with the US and been continuously turned down on a number of fronts, the US continues to wage its secret war against Russia.
The capture of the CIA controller and the active way with which the CIA has been attempting to gather information points to the fact that there is no doubt a very large gap in US intelligence on Russia. This is good, it means that the Russian Government and the Russian Special Services are doing their jobs and keeping the country’s secrets secure.
The CIA is apparently desperate to find agents in the special services making one wonder if the Cold War in fact really ended. Advice to foreign agents: the FSB Counter Intelligence is on the job, better update your “Moscow Rules”.
The fact that FSB Counter Intelligence was able to catch an enemy of the state red-handed and then throw him back as apparently useless also quite frankly warms the heart. To know that true professionals are protecting Russia makes it possible to sleep well at night.
Once again we see the quiet professionalism with which the FSB operates, not only in countless unsung anti-terrorist operations but in dozens of anti-espionage operations. The US would have been wise to listen many times in the past and should seriously accept Russian offers of cooperation, rather than sending some half-baked clown with wigs and a back-pack to do the work of real intelligence officers.
It might be interesting to ponder why the FSB let Mr. Fogle go. Was he just a little fish or perhaps he was turned? Not that would be interesting.
The views and opinions expressed here are my own. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org