Tuesday, 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. The U.S. State Department also declined to comment.
"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..."
n 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.
Russia's state-owned news outlet, RIA Novosti, reported that Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul to come in Wednesday to discuss the incident.
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."
Below is a translation of the alleged letter from the CIA to the potential contact:
This is a down-payment from someone who is very impressed with your professionalism and who would greatly appreciate your cooperation in the future. Your security means a lot to us. This is why we chose this way of contacting you. We will continue to make sure our correspondence remains safe and secret.
We are ready to offer you $100,000 to discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation. The reward may be much greater if you are willing to answer specific questions. In addition to that, we can offer up to $1 million a year for long-term cooperation, with extra bonuses if we receive some helpful information.
To get back with us, please to go an internet café, or a coffee shop that was Wi-Fi, and open a new Gmail account which you will use exclusively to contact us. As you register, do not provide any personal info that can help identify you or your new account. Don’t provide any real contacts, e.g., your phone number or other email addresses.
If Gmail asks for personal info, start the registration process again and avoid providing such data. Once you register this new account, use it to send a message to [REDACTED]. In exactly one week, check this mailbox for a response from us.
(If you use a netbook or any other device (e.g., a tablet) to open the account at a coffee shop, please don’t use a personal device with personal data on it. If possible, buy a new device (paying in cash) which you will use to contact us. We will reimburse you for this purchase.)
Thank you for reading this letter. We look forward to working with you in the nearest future.