On Tuesday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo furiously criticized news reports detailing the secret exfiltration of a CIA spy who had operated at the top levels of the Kremlin, said such reports could put lives at risk.
The US intelligence was confirmed by the informant that President Vladimir Putin directed Russia’s meditation in the 2016 US presidential election, straining superpower relations and casting a cloud over Donald Trump’s stunning victory.
It has been reported by several news reports citing sources in the American espionage community, the informant was moved out of Russia two years ago amid fears of being uncovered amid the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the election.
However, Washington was deprived of essential insight into Putin’s activities and thinking. Pompeo questioned the reports without making it specific but did not deny their general thrust. While Speaking in the White House, he said, “I’ve seen that reporting. The reporting is materially inaccurate.”
“As the former CIA director, I don’t talk about things like this very often.”
“It is only the occasions when there is something that I think puts people at risk, or the reporting is so egregious as to create enormous risk to the United States of America, that I even comment in the way I just did,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Russian media has revealed the suspected insider as Oleg Smolenkov who had served as an assistant of Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yury Ushakov. He also served once in Russia’s embassy in Washington. The intelligence experts said, his high position could have given him access to top-level national security information and may have provided the US intelligence with essential insights into Putin.
The former CIA spokesman Ned Price told sources, “If these reports … are accurate, I think that really speaks to a tremendous intelligence victory on the part of the CIA.” The exfiltration would be “a strategic loss for us over time, as we will lose those insights,” Price added.
Regarding the news, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the US reports were “rather in the genre of pulp fiction.” He said that the alleged mole worked in the Kremlin and did not have direct contact with the Russian leader.
“I don’t know whether he was an agent or not. I can only confirm that he worked for the presidential administration and he was sacked,” Peskov said.
“His position was not in the category of senior official,” Peskov stated. “This position does not call for contacts with the president as such.”