Suspected Russian spy worked at U.S. embassy in Moscow for 10 years

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That the Russian spy could have had access to information that compromised USA national security, the Secret Service added, was "erroneously reported".

"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", a senior United States administration official said.

"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", the source revealed.

In a statement, U.S. Secret Service officials rejected the British paper's claims of a cover-up and high-level security breach as "categorically false" and said "the article is wrought with irresponsible and inaccurate reporting based on the claims of "anonymous" sources".

While the spy was given access to the Secret Service's email systems, the statement departments insists that there is no national security issue because she was not privy to any highly classified information.

The agency admitted that the FSN's employment was terminated after a "scheduled security update", but denied any efforts to sweep the matter under the carpet.

"At no time, in any US Secret Service office, have FSNs been provided or placed in a position to obtain national security information".

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

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Butina is accused of infiltrating a pro-gun rights organization in the U.S.at the behest of a high-powered Russian official, as part of a mission to influence USA foreign policy towards Russia.

"This is of particular emphasis in Russian Federation".

The US State Department told Agence France-Presse it was looking into the report, but does not comment on intelligence matters.

The CIA has downplayed the role of the alleged spy, claiming that Russian nationals are hired by the embassy merely for the goal of "translation, interpretation, cultural guidance, liaison and administrative support".

The probe found she was having regular unauthorised meetings with the main Russian intelligence agency, the FSB.

The State Department also acknowledged the risk of foreign governments trying to recruit its employees overseas and said it screens applicants and employees carefully as a result.

The Russian was suspected of espionage division staff of the USA state Department, which handles security at US diplomatic missions.

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