Mon, 16 Dec 2019

U.S. media are reporting that the Central Intelligence Agency in 2017 extracted a Russian who provided top-secret intelligence on President Vladimir Putin, including information about alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.

The New York Times and CNN reported on September 9 that the man was considered a valuable asset for U.S. intelligence, and while he was not in Putin's inner circle, he had access to Russian security planning and other classified information.

Unnamed Russian officials told the newspaper Kommersant that the reports were false.

A CIA spokeswoman told CNN that its report was 'misguided speculation.' A White House spokeswoman called the CNN report incorrect.

The Times reported that the person had provided information to the United States for decades, including insights that helped U.S. intelligence agencies conclude that Putin was directly involved in efforts to interfere in the presidential election, to benefit Donald Trump's bid for the presidency.

In late 2016 and 2017, according to the Times, the CIA sought to move the person out of Moscow, but the person declined, citing family concerns. In the first half of 2017, however, the Russian agreed.

CNN also reported that the decision to move the person out of Russia was fueled by U.S. intelligence concerns that Trump may have leaked classified information to Russian officials, including during a May 2017 White House meeting. That was strenuously denied by the White House spokeswoman.

But the Times reported the decision was based on a growing number of U.S. media reports at the time that referred to the possibility of a U.S. informant in Moscow.

Based on reporting by CNN, The New York Times, and Kommersant.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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