Al­leged CIA mole was a mi­nor of­fi­cial, says Krem­lin

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

The Krem­lin on Tues­day played down US me­dia re­ports of a CIA spy in­side Rus­sia’s pres­i­den­tial ad­min­is­tra­tion, call­ing them “pulp fic­tion,” but said a low-level of­fi­cial who Rus­sian me­dia sug­gested was the agent had worked there be­fore be­ing fired.

CNN re­ported on Mon­day that the US had suc­cess­fully ex­tracted one of its high­est-level covert sources in­side Rus­sia in 2017. The New York Times later said the in­for­mant had sent se­crets to Washington for decades.

A source fa­mil­iar with US mon­i­tor­ing of Rus­sian ac­tiv­i­ties con­firmed to Reuters that such a CIA in­for­mant in­side the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment did ex­ist and that the in­for­mant had been ex­tracted and brought to the US.

Rus­sian daily news­pa­per Kom­m­er­sant said on Tues­day the of­fi­cial may have been a man called Oleg Smolenkov, who is re­ported to have dis­ap­peared with his wife and three chil­dren while on hol­i­day in Mon­tene­gro in 2017 and is now re­ported to be liv­ing in the US.

Asked about the mat­ter, Krem­lin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Smolenkov had re­ally worked in the Rus­sian pres­i­den­tial ad­min­is­tra­tion but had been fired in 2016-17. “It is true that Smolenkov worked in the pres­i­den­tial ad­min­is­tra­tion, but he was fired sev­eral years ago. His job was not at a se­nior of­fi­cial level,” he said.

Smolenkov did not have di­rect ac­cess to Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, Peskov added.

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