Russia slams US over ‘crude, clumsy’ spying

Russia slams US over ‘crude, clumsy’ spying

MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Russia slams US over ‘crude, clumsy’ spying

Suspected CIA spy Fogle was caught red-handed. AFP photo

Russia on May 15 accused the United States of “crude and clumsy” spying on its territory after a suspected CIA agent was caught in Moscow seeking to recruit an agent while disguised in a blonde wig.

The foreign ministry issued an official protest to the U.S. ambassador who it summoned to an early morning meeting, but signs also grew that neither side wanted the Cold War-style incident to develop into a full scale crisis.

The suspected agent, named as Ryan C. Fogle, was caught red-handed late May 13 as he tried to recruit a Russian security agent with an advance of $100,000 for intelligence on the Northern Caucasus, according to the Russian FSB security service. The man, who was carrying a “typical espionage arsenal” of money and disguises like wigs and spectacles, is said to have been working undercover as a low-ranking third secretary at the U.S. embassy.

“To say the least, we are surprised by the extremely crude and clumsy recruitment” that came after pledges by both sides to improve cooperation, said President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov, quoted by ITAR-TASS. Ushakov also expressed surprise that it appeared vows by Putin and President Barack Obama for special services to work closer together had not filtered through to the CIA or the U.S. embassy.

No ‘spy talks’ with Kerry

But Ushakov also announced that Russian national security chief Nikolai Patrushev would visit the United States May 20-21, possibly carrying a message on bilateral relations from Putin to Obama. He said: “I do not think that what has happened will influence this cooperation, all the more as its importance has been agreed at a high level.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov steered clear of the topic, saying that he had opted not to bring up the case at talks in Sweden with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “John Kerry and I did not discuss the Moscow spy scandal, since it is already public knowledge,” he said on Foreign Ministry’s official twitter account.