Accused of spying, he has immunity
MOSCOW – A U.S. diplomat was ordered Tuesday to leave the country after the Kremlin’s security services said he tried to recruit a Russian agent, and they displayed tradecraft tools that seemed straight from a cheap spy thriller: wigs, packets of cash, a knife, map and compass, and a letter promising millions for “long-term cooperation.”
The FSB, the successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB, identified the diplomat as Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, detaining him briefly overnight.
It alleged Fogle was a CIA officer trying to recruit a Russian counterterrorism officer who specializes in the volatile Caucasus region in southern Russia, where the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects had their ethnic roots.
Fogle, who was handed over to U.S. Embassy officials, was declared persona non grata and ordered to leave Russia immediately. He has diplomatic immunity, which protects him from arrest.
The State Department would only confirm that Fogle worked as an embassy employee, but wouldn’t give any details about his employment record or responsibilities in Russia.
Russian state TV showed pictures of a man said to be Fogle, wearing a baseball cap and a blond wig, lying face down on the ground. The man, without the wig, was also shown sitting at a desk in the offices of the FSB, the Federal Security Service.
Two wigs, a compass, a map of Moscow, a pocket knife, three pairs of sunglasses and envelopes of 500 euro notes (each bill worth $649) were among the items the FSB displayed on a table.
The FSB also produced a typewritten letter that it described as instructions to the Russian agent who was the target of Fogle’s alleged recruitment effort. The letter, in Russian and addressed “Dear friend,” offers $100,000 to “discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation” and up to $1 million a year for long-term cooperation. The letter also includes instructions for opening a Gmail account to be used for communication and an address to write. It is signed “Your friends.”
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