A CIA Agent Arrested While Trying to Recruit a Russian Security Service Officer

May 15, 2013
American Ambassador Michael McFaul Photo: REUTERS

[A Channel One article from yesterday’s spy-gate scandal containing details of how the FSB presented the capture of alleged American spy Ryan Fogle. –Ed.] 

Another spy scandal, this time against the background of a period characterized by less than perfect relations between Russia and the United States. An American diplomat arrested in Moscow while trying to recruit an officer of a Russian special service for one million dollars a year. The US Ambassador has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry for explanation. One of his staff will go home, leaving behind all kinds of evidence.

No technical progress is powerful enough to overcome spies’ passion for disguise. One might think, what’s the point using some kind of makeup or code words when we have state-of-the-art means of communication? However, an American career diplomat working at the U.S. Embassy has been arrested wearing a wig and, as the official report says, with means of disguise. Reportedly they found in his possession three pairs of sunglasses that he took for the night walk.

According to the FSB, the arrest itself took place at the moment when Mr. Ryan Christopher Fogle was trying to recruit an agent of the Russian special service.

At the FSB office the U.S. Embassy officials are provided with details of the overnight operation. Mr. Fogle is present.

“At 23 hours and 30 minutes this individual, Mr. Ryan Fogle, who identified himself as an American diplomat, called officer (…) and asked him to become a spy for the United States. After the first call, during which the said officer refused to meet with Mr. Fogle, the latter called him again and insisted on a meeting. At that moment Mr. Fogle offered him money, 100,000 euro. We know the focus area that was of such interest for the recruiters. The agent in question is involved in antiterrorist activities in the Northern Caucasus.”

In the arrested diplomat’s pockets they found written instructions for the potential recruit, as well as a roll of banknotes, probably a “cash advance.” Mr. Ryan Christopher Fogle produced an ID and other documents, according to which he is the third secretary of the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. According to the embassy website, that section is in charge of communicating to the Russian Government the U.S. policy stance regarding foreign policy and security, as well as briefing Washington on major developments in terms of foreign and defense policies of Russia.

In general, the cover looks quite legitimate. Just like it usually happens in spy stories. The most notorious so far dates back to 2006 – a well-known “stone case.” The British spy agency put receiver and transmitter devices into a stone in order to exchange intelligence information. At that time, the British Prime Minister declared that he had nothing to do with that scandal, that his Cabinet does not comment on such incidents. Today we see a similar reaction by the U.S. Ambassador Mr. McFaul.

However, he will have to say something. He’s been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, that has already reacted to this new spy scandal.

“At the time when our presidents reconfirmed their commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation, including between the security services, to fight international terrorism, such acts of provocation in the spirit of the ‘cold war’ are not conducive to strengthening mutual trust,” the Foreign Ministry statement says.

As to Mr. Fogle, he will have to turn in his ID as the third secretary of the embassy. The Foreign Ministry declared him persona non grata, and he must leave the country.