American man detained in notorious prison

Discharged U.S. Marine Paul Whelan was charged with spying in Russia.
3:07 | 01/03/19

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Transcript for American man detained in notorious prison
Want to get to the very latest on that American who has been kept captive. And Moscow after he went there reportedly for a wedding. The 48 year old he seemed there Paul Whelan. And has been held captive in. Just within the last few moments were orders has some new reporting on it so want to bring in Martha Raddatz. From a DC bureau on this Martha good morning. Good morning Ken is and what we're just learning is that Russia has now officially indicted Paul Whelan for espionage he is being held. In a rather notorious. Prison there apparently. There's ha quite harsh conditions there in that prison although. Paul will it has been reported to be in good condition his lawyer has now talked to him. The US ambassador to Russia has now talked to him so it is good news he is in good shape. Very bad news he has been officially indicted there's a Russian news agency that says that Paul Wheeler and had in his possession and possession a classified. List of Russian operatives and let me read you a little bit from that news service they say. He had sought to recruit Russians who might have access. My first cultivating them on social media. And pol willing did have a social media account over there in Russia. It says he'd been there are ten years doing this coming to Russia to meet with these people. He claims that we Owen had sought Russians who American intelligence had already selected ads promising. As you know Candace his family says there is no way they are 100% certain he was not a spy. An and I will bring up his background he had been kicked out of the Marine Corps. About ten years ago for dereliction of duty for charges related to larceny. Which he apparently. Was convicted and so he was to roll out for bad conduct. That is not generally someone that our intelligence agencies would go after to try to do not recruit people in Russia. He and that really is interest in part there you get kicked out of military they don't necessarily say the CIA lets sign you out of BS spying and on but it that this. The begs a question is is this a tit for tat for the and let's find it here in custody in the US. I I think it very well could be in there US officials who who think the same thing Maria Bettina. We have pleaded guilty several weeks ago saying she can tried to infiltrate. Conservative political servant. Circles in the US. So that plea Varner put says we've never heard of or she's not a spy she's not a Russian agent we have no idea but this could pick timing of this is is very very suspect but it's really quite serious. For Paul. We you and I mean he could face twenty years in prison. In Russia. And twenty years in some really tough prison conditions there in Russia indeed. Our Martha Raddatz reporting from Washington DC bureau from with the very latest there on that American the has been detained Martha thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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