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A tantalizing chapter in Russia’s efforts to collect intelligence on American politics came to a close on Friday as a woman who worked as a covert agent was released from prison to be returned to her home country.
In a quivering voice, Maria Butina begged for leniency Friday as she awaited sentencing on charges of being a secret agent for Russia. She cast herself as an innocent caught up in a massive geopolitical power game.
U.S. prosecutors requested an 18-month prison sentence for Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina for conspiring with a senior Russian official to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and conservative U.S. political circles for the Kremlin from 2015 until her arrest in July.
A Russian woman accused of being a secret agent admitted Thursday that she conspired to infiltrate the American gun-rights movement to gather intelligence on conservative political groups as Donald Trump rose to power.
A year before federal prosecutors accused Maria Butina of operating as a secret agent for the Russian government, she was a graduate student at American University working on a sensitive project involving cybersecurity.
The yawning gap between the world as it exists and the world as President Trump sees it was on vivid display Wednesday. A few minutes after noon, reporters in the White House were being ushered out of a Cabinet meeting they had been allowed to witness. One called out a question: “Is Russia still targeting the U.S., Mr. President?”
The photo posted online in 2013 of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb, wearing a pinstripe suit and his signature bow tie, might look like any random snapshot from a formal networking dinner. Except this photo was taken in Moscow. And it includes Maria Butina, a Russian national arrested this week on allegations of being an unregistered foreign agent.
A 29-year-old woman accused of being a covert Russian agent was “likely” in contact with operatives of the successor agency to the KGB while she lived in the United States, prosecutors said Wednesday in court papers.
A Russian national with alleged ties to a top Russian official was charged in federal court in Washington Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation, and was ordered held without bond.