The Kremlin paints a target on the back of a former insider who reportedly was an important CIA source before the agency "exfiltrated" him from Russia to the US in July 2017.
On Tuesday, the Russian daily reported Kommersant published the name and biography of a man who lived with his wife and children near Washington DC under his own name, with the newspaper possibly the door opened for any number of potential assassins, not for anyone who could be attributed directly to the Kremlin.
For ethical reasons, The Daily Beast has decided not to release the alleged spy's name or address. But our reporters only needed a few clicks to find out where he lived in a million-dollar house. With the threat posed by the vengeful and murderous regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the house seems to be closely watched (as measured by the convergence of cars when The Daily Beast emerged), but security seems careless to say the least.
] How is this possible if the Kommersant man was really as important to the CIA as he was in reports from CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post ?
Well, maybe he's not that important or indeed this spy. Maybe there was a deep throat from the Kremlin. But the profiles seem to fit.
A more likely possibility is that the CIA has come to believe over the years that Russian intelligence agencies would not dare to do what is known in the industry as "wet work" or "wet work" Attacks on US soil.
But times have changed. Donald Trump, president of the United States, was elected with the help of Russian activists and has been an apologist for Putin for years. Often he publicly interceded for him, preferring to deal with him privately without witnesses.
At the same time, Putin's members of the Military Intelligence Service (GRU) and the FSB and the SVR (successor to the infamous KGB) were involved in several murders and murder attempts, notably the assassination of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London 2006 poisoned with the rare radioactive isotope polonium-21
"According to Kommersant in the power structures of the Russian Federation a criminal case relating to the murder of [figure named in the article] and relatives of his family (Article 105 of the Criminal Code was issued by The investigations were stopped and continued several times, but in the end the investigators and FSB officers found that the alleged victims were alive and in another country. " How Putinesque Should Investigate the Murder of a Spilled Spy Before He Was Killed.
The non-dead spy was after all that the CIA had to say, an extremely valuable asset, according to a CNN source that told the story For the first time, there was "no equivalent alternative" within the Russian government, which provided both insights and information about Puti n delivered. "
From the late 1990s, the man profiled himself in ] Kommersant worked in the currency and finance department of the Russian Foreign Ministry and later became under Alexander Udaltsov (currently Russian ambassador to Lithuania) in the second European Department of the Ministry. In the mid-2000s, he served as second secretary at the Russian Embassy in Washington. At that time, Yury Ushakov, the current assistant to the Russian president for international affairs, was Russia's ambassador to the United States.
According to Kommersant the man in question continued to work directly under Ushakov. who enjoys the close confidence of the Russian President after both returned to Moscow in 2008. From 2008 to May 2012 (when Putin was prime minister) Ushakov was Deputy Chief of the Government Staff of the Russian Federation. Since then, he is an advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, responsible for international affairs.
As one of Putin's top advisers, Ushakov was obviously deeply involved in Kremlin policy toward the United States for years, and his trusted acquaintance had details of all aspects of the decision-making process involving the US and Putin.
According to New York Times : "The Moscow informant played a key role in the CIA's most explosive conclusion on Russia's intervention campaign: President Vladimir Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself." The media began to speculate on possible CIA assets that had a high priority in the Kremlin after US intelligence officials released a release of their assessment of Russian electoral deterioration in early January 2017.
This was published in response to constant public criticism and criticism in particular. President-Elect Donald Trump expressed doubts about the US intelligence community's assessment of the Russian influences that helped him in the election.
Around this time, the Russians began to aggressively search for moles in their government and their security services, which may transmit information to the Americans. In December, according to news released several weeks later, the FSB arrested two of its leading cyber officials for treason for working with the CIA. One of them was dragged out of a meeting with a sack over his head, reports reportedly leaked by the Kremlin itself.
Around the same time, FSB General Oleg Erovinkin, the right-hand man of the powerful Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Sechin is said to have long been an important participant in the Kremlin's efforts to put Trump to the polls.
No wonder the CIA started worrying about their captain. Putin and his cronies really wanted to find the moles behind the leaks.
The spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitri Peskov, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the man named Kommersant formerly worked for the presidential administration, but was released many years ago and never had contact with the Russian President had. (This is the standard procedure for embarrassed and involved politicians who suddenly claim that they have barely met people they know and have worked with for years.)
Although the Kremlin wants to admit that one of its own values is a CIA The asset was that will not prevent Putin from persecuting the fugitive.
As already mentioned, it has long been common wisdom that the Kremlin would not dare to assassinate its enemies in the United States. A memorandum from the CIA in 1964 states: "Since the Second World War and especially in the years after Stalin's death, assassinations abroad have become increasingly rare. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Soviets to find people willing to carry out murder orders, concerned about the adverse publicity that has resulted in the killing of the Soviets in general compared to previous years. "
However, there have been numerous high-level defectors in the United States who have spent their lives here uneventfully. Peter Deriabin, a KGB officer who fled to the US in 1954, worked for the CIA for years, writing several books on the KGB before he died a natural death in 1992 at the age of 71.
And then there was Arkady Shevchenko, He entered the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a young man and entered the diplomatic service to become an important adviser to Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.
Shevchenko, appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1973, began a secret collaboration with the CIA when he was at the United Nations and went to the United States in 1978. In 1985 Shevchenko published his autobiography Breaking With Moscow which was extremely critical of his former government. He died of cirrhosis in 1998 at the age of 68 years.
A recent defector was SVR Colonel Aleksandr Poteyev, who worked secretly with the CIA in 1999. He escaped in 2010 shortly before the arrest of 10 Russians from Russia "illegals" in the US, whose network he allegedly revealed. In 2011, Poteyev, who has since disappeared here, was sentenced by a Russian military court in absentia for high treason.
Here in the US, however, there were at least two suspicious deaths of important defectors One goes back far: Walter Krivitsky – a senior Soviet military intelligence officer – fled in 1937 at the height of Stalin's purges in the United States and 1941 in a hotel room in Washington, DC Found Found Shot Krivitsky, who left a farewell letter, was convinced that he was a murder target, and some suspected it was a murder. It later became known that in 1997 he began passing secrets to the Americans. He was resettled with his wife and daughter in an unknown place under a false name. Ten years later, in June 2010, he suddenly died in Florida at the age of 53. He reportedly choked on a piece of meat, but the possibility of murder was discussed.
According to an NBC news report from 2018: "There are dozens of defectors from Russia and the former Soviet Union who currently live in the US and already enjoy protection from the CIA and who are believed to be at the top of the list The potential targets of the Russian government are … The US intelligence services take responsibility for their resettlement and security needs of the National Resettlement Operations Center of the CIA.
But what does "responsibility for their security needs" mean? Especially for Russians like the Kommersant man and his family who live here openly?
Even if they move to an unknown location, the Russians will most likely be able to find them. As the investigative reporter Jeff Stein stated in 2018, "They are becoming lonely. They miss their friends and family. Despite the danger of retaliation, Russian defectors who hide abroad call or send e-mails to relatives in the motherland. And if it does, the Kremlin listens. According to Stein, American security forces have seen an increase in Russian activity in the US in recent years. Suspicious agents were spotted in the vicinity of some defectors protected by CIA security teams.
One might assume that Putin and his cronies after the unveiling of the Kremlin's hand in the murder of Litvinenko in 2006 and later in the script poisoning thought twice about attempting to assassinate the United States. (Only last month in Berlin, after a Georgian, who had once commanded the Chechen rebel forces, was assassinated, the attacker was caught immediately.)
In times of high-tech communication, it is easier to locate them Hidden It is also easier to catch hired killers than it was to Soviet days.
But the fact is, Putin does not care if the Kremlin is caught red-handed. But on the contrary. The goal, as always, is to warn political enemies and potential defectors that Putin's vindictive reach extends around the globe.
Christopher Dickey also contributed to this story.