Murdered In Montenegro, Or Living In Suburban Virginia? Unraveling The 2017 American Spy Story
By Aric Toler
On September 10, 2019, CNN reported that the United States helped a Russian government official flee after working as a spy for American intelligence in 2017 — all reportedly due to concerns regarding President Trump and his administration’s handling of “classified intelligence”. The CNN report was sparse on details, but it was enough to identify a runaway Russian government official who fits the bill:
In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN. (…) The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
There are two pieces of information in these CNN quotations that allow further investigation: The source was a higher-up in the Russian government, and the decision was made in May 2017, meaning that the escape from Russia likely happened either in May or June 2017.
The New York Times also reported on the “source” late on Monday, noting that he was recruited by American intelligence “decades ago“. The Times also noted that this spy did not work directly with Putin, but was near him, likely pointing to an official somewhere in the Presidential Executive Office (also called the Presidential Administration):
The informant, according to people familiar with the matter, was outside of Mr. Putin’s inner circle, but saw him regularly and had access to high-level Kremlin decision-making — easily making the source one of the agency’s most valuable assets.
These two stories kicked off a search for a potential American spy who worked in the Russian government, leading to the re-discovery of the mysterious …read more