The Daily Beast reported on Monday, citing sources, that the FBI was investigating the US branch of the Russian diaspora organisation, saying that dozens of people associated with KSORS have been already questioned. According to those interrogated, the questions concerned mainly how KSORS handled its funds. Some media reported that Branson was among those inquired, along with President of Russian Youth of America organisation Igor Kochan and KSORS Secretary Sergey Gladysh.
"I hesitate to comment on the activities of the US special services and their motives. At the same time, I consider it important to emphasise once again that no one from the US KSORS was detained or accused of anything. KSORS USA continues to operate," Branson said.
The chairwoman noted that the organisation's goals remained the same — to consolidate communities and preserve the Russian language and culture in the United States.
"Of course, we are interested in seeing relations between Russia and the United States develop in a constructive direction and follow a positive track. We are sure that most of the citizens of both countries, and the inhabitants of the planet, are interested in this. We hope that tensions between the countries will not lead to another round of McCarthyism," she added referring to a period of anti-communist sentiment in US politics in the late 1940s-early 1950s which entailed witch hunts against perceived Soviet agents and was named after Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
KSORS secretary Gladysh, in turn, told Sputnik that the organisation's activities in cultural and educational areas and public diplomacy were being carried out as usual.
Kochan, who is currently in Russia, told Sputnik that his stay in Russia had nothing to do with any additional activity or increased attention of the US intelligence to him. He added that he was planning to return to the US.
"Such attention [from the US intelligence] is not new. It has always existed. And those people who have been working with compatriots for decades know that there is such attention," Kochan added.
Commenting on the matter, Natalie Sabelnik, the president of the Congress of Russian Americans, told Sputnik that there was nothing new to her knowledge in the FBI questioning of people as part of a probe launched for security reasons.
"FBI is doing their job for the security of our nation, and if they interview people, I am not aware as to how many, nor the questions that they ask. I am certain that they have done this in the past, as a precaution to safeguard our citizens and our country, not just now," Sabelnik said.
In the meantime, the FBI declined to elaborate on the matter. The bureau has neither confirmed nor denied that there is such a probe.