Suspected Russian spy found working in U.S. embassy in Moscow

A Russian police officer patrolling a street in front of the US embassy in Moscow

American intelligence agencies have uncovered a Russian intelligence agent that worked at the US Embassy in Moscow for over ten years, The Guardian pens.

It said foreign service nationals (FSNs) who work for the USA are known to be vulnerable to foreign intelligence influence, particularly in Russia, and that the Secret Service manages their access and permissions under the assumption that they are under the control of Russian intelligence.

The woman came under suspicion in 2016 when a routine security sweep by the Regional Security Office of the State Department discovered "regular and unauthorized meetings with members of the FSB, Russia's principal security agency", the Guardian wrote.

The Guardian reports that the RSO flagged the woman in January 2017, but that the Secret Service decided not to launch a full investigation of its own.

The senior administration official said she was sacked last summer after being caught red-handed.

Instead the woman was sacked discretely months later, but it was overshadowed by the Kremlin's expulsion of more than 750 USA personnel following sanctions from Washington.

The order to remove more than 750 U.S. personnel from its 1,200-strong diplomatic mission is understood to have provided cover for her removal.

"Only an intense investigation by an outside source can determine the damage she has done", the source concluded.

The discovery of a suspected FSB mole on its staff within the USA embassy in Moscow would be hugely damaging to its reputation and could have severe consequences for the safety of other Secret Service staff and those it is mandated to protect. But it did not deny that she had been identified as a potential mole.

'This is of particular emphasis in Russian Federation.

"The US Congress is focusing on Russian hackers when it is possible that all of the information they needed to get into the system came from the internal breach in the Secret Service".

"We knew it was happening and it was just a process of playing it out and giving her specific information that we saw her give back to the FSB", said the official, adding that "this was not an issue of national security".

The Secret Service went on to say that part of the duties of the FSN position in Moscow are "to assist our attaches and agency by engaging the Russian government, including the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian Ministry of the Interior (MVD), and the Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) in furtherance of Secret Service interests".

The State Department declined to comment and said they "do not comment on allegations related to intelligence or personnel matters, and we have no information for you on this alleged incident", CNN reported.

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