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Russian media delight in botched US spy case

By Agencies in Moscow | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-16 08:06

 Russian media delight in botched US spy case

A man identified as Ryan C. Fogle, the third secretary of the political section of the US embassy in Moscow, is being questioned at the Federal Security Service after his arrest. Russia's Federal Security Service via Agence France-Presse

Russian media reveled on Wednesday in embarrassing the United States over a botched attempt to recruit one of its intelligence agents but both countries signaled they wanted to prevent the episode from harming efforts to improve relations.

Moscow expelled a US diplomat on Tuesday, saying he had been caught red-handed with disguises, special equipment and wads of cash as he tried to recruit a Russian agent for the CIA.

US Ambassador Michael McFaul spent 30 minutes at the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday after being summoned to give an explanation, and the ministry said it had issued a formal protest.

"Overnight to Tuesday the Federal Security Service's counterintelligence service detained a career officer of the CIA, Ryan Christopher Fogle, who worked under disguise of third secretary in the political department of the US embassy in Moscow, in the attempt to recruit an officer of one of the Russian security services," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The CIA agent allegedly has offered up to $1 million to the Russian intelligence officer, local media reports said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, have pledged to strengthen bilateral cooperation, including that between security services when fight against international terrorism. "Such provocative actions of the Cold War type in no way promote strengthening mutual trust," the statement said.

Although Putin said nothing about the incident, news channels repeatedly showed footage of Fogle, in an incongruous-looking blond wig, being pinned to the ground by a Russian undercover agent in a "sting" operation.

There is little sign that either country wants to go beyond a minimum response as Washington and Moscow try to improve strained relations and bring the warring sides in Syria together for an international peace conference.


(China Daily 05/16/2013 page11)

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