Russia’s security services say they have caught a US diplomat who they claim is a CIA agent in a red-handed attempt to recruit a Russian agent.
Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the US Embassy in Moscow, was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money when he was detained overnight, Russia’s Federal Security Service said in a statement on Tuesday.
Fogle was later handed over to US Embassy officials, according to the FSB, the successor agency of the Soviet-era KGB.
The FSB released video pictures which they said showed Fogle under detention, being escorted into a room by a man, whose face was pixillated in the video by the FSB to prevent recognition.
They also released pictures of identity cards identifying Fogle as a US Diplomat, equipment said to have been found in his posession, including wigs, sunglasses, a knife and a mobile phone, which the FSB claimed were to be used for spying.
Packages of 500 euro notes were among the items displayed on a table.
The FSB also displayed a letter which was said to be a letter of instruction on how to spy for the United States.
The letter promised the recipient 100,000 US dollars to “discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation” and up to a million (m) dollars a year for “information that will help us.” It gave instructions on how to make contact through a Gmail account.
Russian state television showed pictures of a man said to be Fogle, wearing a baseball cap and what appeared to be a blond wig, lying face down on the ground. The man, now without the wig, was also shown sitting at a desk in the FSB offices.
The detention of Fogle appeared to be the first case of an American diplomat publicly accused of spying in about a decade and seemed certain to aggravate already strained relations between the two countries.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it has summoned Ambassador Michael McFaul to appear on Wednesday in connection with the detention. McFaul said he would not comment on the spying allegation.
In Washington, the White House referred questions about the detained diplomat to the State Department. There was no immediate response from the State Department.
Russia and the United States have been at odds lately over Syria, the adoption of Russian children and US sanctions against Russian officials for alleged human rights abuses.
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