Promises of millions, a new face and detailed instructions on a double-agent conspiracy in Moscow. Bearing the hallmarks of a Cold War spy thriller, Russia’s counterintelligence agency says it nabbed a CIA officer trying to flip a Russian operative.
The Federal Security Service
(FSB) Public Relations Center has announced that the person detained is Ryan Christopher Fogle, a career diplomat working as the third secretary of the Political Section of the American embassy in Moscow.
The agency stressed that Christopher had special technical equipment, printed instructions for the Russian citizen being recruited, a large sum of money and means to change the person’s appearance.
The detainee was delivered to the FSB receiving office where he has been questioned and after all the necessary procedures he has been handed over to representatives of the US embassy in Moscow.
The website of the American embassy in Russia informs that its Political Section is engaged in “bringing to the attention of the Russian government the US position on the issues of foreign policy and security.” The section’s other task is to “inform Washington about the main provisions of the foreign and defense policy of Russia,” as well as Russian domestic political life.
The one-page letter to a would-be recruit proposes a payment of US$100,000 for an interview to discuss possible cooperation and promises up to $1 million a year payment if the contact agrees to supply the American side with the information it demands.
The letter also contains a step-by-step instruction how to create a new Gmail account that would be used for future contacts. The instruction repeatedly stresses not to present any real contact information, like phone numbers, email or home addresses.
Instruction allegedly used to recruit Russian intelligence officer with offers of money and means of conducting the conspiracy (FSB)
It is advised not to use personal handheld mobile devices and notebooks for registration, proposing to use an internet café to go through the procedure. Another option, the instruction says, is to buy a new device especially for contacts and pay for it in cash, with the expenses to be reimbursed.
Once a new Gmail account is created, the recruit should write a letter to ‘unbacggdA@gmail.com and wait one week for a reply.
“Thank you for reading this. We look forward to working with you in the nearest future. Your friends,” the instruction ends.
US Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul refused to comment on the detention of his subordinate for espionage activities.
On his Twitter account he simply wrote ‘no’ answering a question about Ryan Fogle.
But tomorrow he will definitely have to have an answer to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where he has been summoned to give an explanation concerning the incident.