Russia is to expel a US diplomat it claims was caught disguised in a blond wig while trying to recruit a Russian agent in Moscow.
Russia’s security services claimed that Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the US Embassy in Moscow, was a CIA officer. It said Fogle was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money when he was detained overnight.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Fogle was handed back to US officials, declared persona non grata and ordered to leave Russia immediately.
It was the first case of an American diplomat in Moscow publicly accused of spying in about a decade.
The CIA declined to comment on the case.
Despite the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still maintain active espionage operations against each other. Last year, several Russians were convicted in separate cases of spying for the US and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.
The detention of Fogle, however, seemed certain to aggravate already strained relations between the two countries.
DEAR SIR, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPY?
Russia’s Federal Security Service has released a photograph of a letter that allegedly contains instructions on spying for the United States. It said it was found on a US diplomat, who they claim is a CIA agent caught trying to recruit a member of one of Russia’s special services.
This is a translation of the typewritten letter shown on Russian state television channels:
This is an advance from someone who is very impressed by your professionalism and who would greatly value working together with you in the future. For us, your safety is of the utmost importance, so we have chosen this route to make contact with you. And we will continue to take steps to secure your safety and keep our correspondence secret.
We are prepared to offer you 100,000 dollars and discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation, and your payment might be far greater if you are prepared to answer some specific questions. Additionally, for long-term cooperation we offer up to 1,000,000 dollars a year with the promise of additional bonuses for information that will help us.
To contact us again, please open a new Gmail account, which you will use only for communicating with us, in an Internet cafe or a cafe with a WiFi connection. When signing up, do not use any personal information that could be used to identify you and the new account. So do not offer any real contact information, i.e. your telephone numbers or other email addresses.
If Gmail asks for your personal information, please, start the registration process again and try not to give them any information. After you register the new inbox, send an email to the address unbacggdA(at)gmail.com, and then check the inbox again exactly one week later to see if you have received our reply.
If you register the new email account in a cafe with a netbook or another device (for example, a tablet), then please do not use your own device with your own personal data on it. If possible, you should get a new device to connect with us, for cash. We will reimburse you for the purchase.
Thank you for reading this. We eagerly await the possibility of working with you in the near future.