Russian media claim CIA spy in the Kremlin is ‘fired’ diplomat’s aide as embarrassed Moscow insists the spy did NOT have access to Vladimir Putin
An alleged CIA spy in Russia who gathered vital intelligence on Vladimir Putin did work for the Kremlin, Russia acknowledged today, but said he did not have direct access to the President.
The spy was pulled out of Moscow in 2017 amid fears for their safety after CIA leaks, U.S. media reported yesterday.
Russian media, in turn, has reported that the man may be Oleg Smolenkov, an aide of senior diplomat Yury Ushakov, a former ambassador to the U.S.
When Smolenkov’s name was put to the Kremlin today, the Russian government said he had worked there but been fired in 2016 or 2017.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Smolenkov did not have direct access to President Vladimir Putin and would not say whether or not he was an agent.
He also said that U.S. media reports read like ‘pulp fiction’.
Officials said the spy was pulled out of Russia amid intense scrutiny of the CIA’s sources on how Vladimir Putin (left) interfered to help Trump (right) win the 2016 election
U.S. media reported on Monday that the spy was pulled out of Moscow in 2017 amid fears for their safety.
Little is known about the operation and it is not even certain whether the spy is a man or a woman.
They are now said to be living in Washington under government protection.
According to a New York Times report, this is the agent who reported that Putin himself had organized Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
The intelligence they provided also made American officials sure that Putin had ordered the hacking of Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign.
The agent in question is said to have photographed secrets on Putin’s desk and sent them to his American spy bosses.
But fears for the spy’s safety reportedly grew amid heavy scrutiny of Russia’s role in interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
The spy’s initial refusal to move to America had sparked concern that they might be a double agent.
But the operation to bring him back was reportedly carried out in 2017.
More to follow.