MOSCOW – In a breach of protocol, Russia has publicized the name of a man it says is the CIA station chief in Moscow.
In comments to Russian media today, a spokesman for Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB (the successor to the KGB), confirmed that Russia had complained to the CIA station chief in Moscow about efforts to recruit Russian officers as spies as far back as 2011. The name of the supposed CIA agent appeared in a quote attributed to the FSB spokesman in a Russian language article by Russia’s Interfax news agency. The man’s identity was removed from the quote in an English language version.
The name could not be immediately confirmed and it’s unclear if he’s still in the country. A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said she had not seen the Russian reports.
The exposure comes on the heels of the latest spy scandal between the old Cold War rivals, and despite signs that the Kremlin was prepared to let that incident go.
Earlier in the week, Russia publicized the detention of an American diplomat they insist was really a spy attempting to recruit a Russian security officer as an informant. State-owned television quickly broadcast video of the man’s detention, as well as photos of his supposed spy kit. That kit included a pair of wigs, a map of Moscow, and a compass. It also included a letter instructing the potential spy how to communicate with his handlers.
The alleged spy, Ryan Fogle, is listed as a third secretary in the political section of the US Embassy in Moscow. According to Interfax, Fogle had been placed under surveillance when he arrived in Moscow two years ago, already suspected of being a spy. Interfax also reported that Fogle left the U.S. Embassy on Monday in the back seat of a car and wearing a wig. He changed wigs before going to meet his suspected contact, Interfax reported.
After Fogle’s arrest, Russian authorities revealed that another alleged American diplomat, identified by the Russians as Benjamin Dillon, was caught last December and expelled from the country in January.
Russian news reports have said that Fogle was attempting to recruit a source in the Russian security services with expertise in the North Caucasus, suggesting that he was attempting to gather information as part of the investigation in the Boston bombing suspects, who came from that restive region.
Fogle has been given until Monday to leave the country, according to RIA Novosti.