State Dept. hires firm with KGB con­nec­tions

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS -

MOSCOW – When Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in July or­dered U.S. diplo­matic mis­sions in Rus­sia to slash their staff by 755 em­ploy­ees, the State Depart­ment said it would need time to as­sess the “im­pact of such a lim­i­ta­tion and how we will re­spond to it.”

Part of that re­sponse has now be­come clear: To make up for the loss of se­cu­rity guards axed in the Rus­sian-man­dated staff cuts, Wash­ing­ton has hired a pri­vate Rus­sian com­pany that grew out of a se­cu­rity busi­ness co-founded by Putin’s for­mer KGB boss, an 82-year-old vet­eran spy who spent 25 years plant­ing agents in Western se­cu­rity ser­vices and hunt­ing down their op­er­a­tives.

Un­der a $2.8 mil­lion no-bid con­tract awarded by the Of­fice of Ac­qui­si­tions in Wash­ing­ton, se­cu­rity guards at the U.S. Em­bassy in Moscow and at con­sulates in St. Peters­burg, Yeka­ter­in­burg and Vladi­vos­tok will be pro­vided by Elite Se­cu­rity Hold­ings, a com­pany closely linked to the for­mer top KGB fig­ure, Vik­tor G. Bu­danov, a re­tired gen­eral who rose through the ranks to be­come head of Soviet coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence.

A State Depart­ment of­fi­cial said Elite Se­cu­rity and in­di­vid­u­als as­so­ci­ated with it had been “vet­ted” with “rel­e­vant na­tional and lo­cal agen­cies” and would not in­crease the threat risk.

– New York Times

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