Russia Claims It Caught CIA Spy Red-Handed

KGB successor says diplomat nabbed attempting to recruit Russian agent.

ByABC News
May 14, 2013, 10:11 AM

May 14, 2013 — -- Russian counter-intelligence claimed today it caught an undercover CIA agent in the act of trying to recruit a Russian agent.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), successor of the KGB, said in a statement on its website that Ryan Christopher Fogle was arrested late Monday night in Moscow with a stack of money, disguises and a letter with written instructions for a Russian citizen who was allegedly the target of recruitment.

Fogle had been working under the guise of a third secretary in the political department of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the FSB said, and his would-be recruit was only identified as a member of Russia's special services.

Fogle was briefly detained by Russian authorities -- at which point the FSB appears to have snapped photos and taken video of Fogle as well as his alleged spy kit -- and then handed over to the U.S. Embassy officials. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow did not immediately respond to request for comment and the CIA declined to discuss the matter.

Today State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell confirmed that a U.S. Embassy employee had been briefly detained and released, but declined to elaborate.

"Dear Friend," begins the letter allegedly found on Fogle, according to a translation by Russia's RT news organization. "This is a down-payment from someone who is very impressed with your professionalism and who would greatly appreciate your cooperation in the future..."

READ DOCUMENT: The Alleged Letter From CIA to Would-Be Russian Spya

In a video posted online, a Russian official appears to berate Fogle for spying in the country, especially after the FSB recently has been "actively helping in the investigation of the Boston bombings" and other U.S. national security issues, according to Russia's state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti.

"And against this backdrop, when relations between our countries are growing stronger, an American diplomat commits, in our estimation, a state crime against the Russian Federation," the man says, according to RIA Novosti.

PHOTOS: Russia Detains American Ryan Fogle for 'Spying'

In the FSB's statement, the security service went on to say that recently U.S. intelligence has attempted on multiple occasions to recruit employees of Russian law enforcement and security.

Fogle, a 29-year-old graduate of Colgate University, was confirmed as a foreign service officer with the State Department in 2011. Third secretary is an entry-level diplomatic post.

RIA Novosti reported that Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul to come in Wednesday to discuss the incident. The State Department confirmed a meeting has been planned.

Mark Galeotti, a Clinical Professor at NYU's Center for Global Affairs and Russian specialist, told ABC News he would not be surprised if a CIA agent were caught spying – that's their job after all – but he was surprised about how the Russians are handling the situation.

Generally, if a spy is identified, the opposing security service would follow them to gather information and eventually quietly expel them, Galeotti said.

"The fact that it's been made into such a big deal is a very political decision," he said. "It's hard to know exactly where that's coming from… [but] I would be amazed if [the public display] wasn't at the very least cleared by the Kremlin."

ABC News' Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

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