Russia arrests American diplomat in Moscow for espionage

posted at 8:41 am on May 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Coming as it does amid tensions sparked between the US and Russian security services by the Boston Marathon bombing, this should get a big hmmmmm.  Russia took the unusual step of arresting an American attache to the US Embassy in Moscow for espionage:

Russia’s security services say they detained a U.S. diplomat they claim is a CIA agent after they caught him red-handed trying to recruit a Russian agent.

The FSB said in a statement Tuesday that Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money when he was detained overnight.

State television showed pictures of a man said to be Fogle sitting at a desk in FSB offices. The FSB said Fogle was handed over to U.S. Embassy officials.

The BBC carried a couple of quotes from the FSB’s announcement:

“FSB counter-intelligence agents detained a CIA staff member who had been working under the cover of third political secretary of the US embassy in Moscow,” the FSB said.

“At the moment of detention, special technical equipment was discovered, written instructions for the Russian citizen being recruited, as well as a large sum of money and means for altering appearance.”

The Wall Street Journal notes that Russian state media just so happened to catch Fogle’s arrest:

Rossiya 24, a state-controlled television channel, carried a story on Mr. Fogle’s arrest that showed an image of a blonde man in a blue shirt being handcuffed on the ground at night.

If this smells of showboating, you’re on the right track.  Usually a security service is better off identifying and tracking spies rather than arresting them, especially when they can’t prosecute. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Fogle really is a CIA agent, which of course hasn’t been established yet.  Fogle has diplomatic credentials, which means the only real value they’d get from Fogle is to track his contacts and then roll those up when the time is right, perhaps to discover US spies without diplomatic immunity. The kind of arrest made with Fogle usually intends to send a message, especially when accompanied by video cameras from state-run media.

So … what’s the message?  The US intel community has been critical of the FSB’s work on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, claiming that the Russians didn’t share enough data for the FBI and CIA to properly identify him as a threat.  Perhaps the FSB wanted to throw a few elbows to get them to back off, although that seems like a rather juvenile stunt for that purpose.  Maybe it’s a very long-delayed payback for rolling up the Anna Chapman ring, but if it took them three years for payback, that’s more of an expression of impotence than a real elbow throw — or it’s just their first good opportunity.  Let’s just assume that the actual cooperation level between the FSB and US intel is not as good as we’d expect, and won’t be for a while.


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A RESET button is in order??

Electrongod on May 14, 2013 at 8:43 AM

From the pic I was wondering if Anna Chapman flipped.

JohnTant on May 14, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Obama is weak, and Russia knows it, time for them to move in a pick at his bones.

The coming weeks will be even more telling as Obama fights for his political life here, Russia will expand their power “there”.

right2bright on May 14, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Wonder of Dear Leader has been informed. He doesn’t seem to be in the loop on anything per Carney.

Dingbat63 on May 14, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Not going to help grease the wheels for any deal in Syria I’m guessing.

CitizenEgg on May 14, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Heh EG

Epic fail

cmsinaz on May 14, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Is Kerry still in Moscow? Would be a nice show for Putin to parade right in front of his nose…

Gingotts on May 14, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Obama: “I know nothing … please turn off the lights. Mushrooms grow best in low light. Oh, and please have the staff bring me another plate of sh!t”. Thanks”.

darwin on May 14, 2013 at 8:55 AM

FSB catches spy trying to be super sneaky while employed by super professional CIA.

CIA can’t search Facebook for jihad references.

****spits on sidewalk***

Limerick on May 14, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Hmmm… Twitter says he’s in Sweden, but meeting with Lavrov tonight.

Gingotts on May 14, 2013 at 8:55 AM

A RESET button is in order??

Electrongod on May 14, 2013 at 8:43 AM

More like on back order!

freedomfirst on May 14, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Hillary, pick up the white paging phone.

hillsoftx on May 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM

RESET!

GarandFan on May 14, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Clearly Rush Limbaugh had something to do with this.

roy_batty on May 14, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Is serving up Americans to foreign countries a new facet to Obama’s post-election foreign policy “flexibility”?

ROCnPhilly on May 14, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Clearly Rush Limbaugh had something to do with this.

roy_batty on May 14, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Concur…The surname Limbaugh sounds kinda suspect doesn’t it…

workingclass artist on May 14, 2013 at 9:17 AM

So is this why Russian planes are buzzin just outside the Alaskan perimeter or something…

workingclass artist on May 14, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Bark said he would be more flexible, and I’m thinking he’s bending over for the Russians about as far as is humanly possible while pounding on that reset button.

Bishop on May 14, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Point of order. He is not an attache. Third secretary and attache are not synonymous.

mjtyson on May 14, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Perhaps the FSB wanted to throw a few elbows to get them to back off, although that seems like a rather juvenile stunt for that purpose.

Never dismiss the possibility of the Russians acting childish.

rbj on May 14, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Jay Carney referred all questions to the State Dept. as the decision to spy on Russia was made by a low level appointee.

Herb on May 14, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Never dismiss the possibility of the Russians acting childish churlish.

rbj on May 14, 2013 at 9:53 AM

It’s what they do.

Cleombrotus on May 14, 2013 at 9:57 AM

So much for working with the Russians on Syria.

steebo77 on May 14, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Let’s just assume that the actual cooperation level between the FSB and US intel is not as good as we’d expect, and won’t be for a while.

In this one, I’m betting the FSB is right. You do not go man-man with another intelligence service unless you were willing to lay all your cards on the table.

I’m betting the FSB gave everything to us, and we ignored it.

Maybe his name was misspelled on some passenger list or something. Heh.

unclesmrgol on May 14, 2013 at 10:12 AM

HeyHey that spy shore has some sharp elbows.

ConcealedKerry on May 14, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Probably a simple “Look, we know what we are doing when it comes to Intelligence in our own country, so don’t blame us for the whole Boston bombing incident, we told you to watch them.”

Neo on May 14, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I’m just glad Ed found a reason to run an Anna Chapman picture again after all this time.

JimLennon on May 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Jay Carney referred all questions to the State Dept. as the decision to spy on Russia was made by a low level appointee.

Herb on May 14, 2013 at 9:53 AM

+1000

unclesmrgol on May 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Tinfoil time:

Russia is actually helping teh one by letting him point to an international crisis and saying “these republicans are keeping me from doing my job with all these distractions!’

I don’t believe that’s the case, but then we are sadly in a place where it’s at least possible. Remember how he’d have “more flexibility” after the election. Still can’t believe people voted for him after that remark.

WitchDoctor on May 14, 2013 at 10:19 AM

“For what is moustache?”
“I’m going to a costume party.”
“Please?”
“COSTUME PARTY, you bloody bolshie.”

mojo on May 14, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Let’s just assume that the actual cooperation level between the FSB and US intel is not as good as we’d expect, and won’t be for a while.

Of course not… let’s be honest, the CIA and the State Department are actively working to overthrow leaders in Russia and to control Russian democracy… all in the name of Democracy.

ninjapirate on May 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Stuff like this never happened under Bush, just saying…

nazo311 on May 14, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Russia’s security services say they detained a U.S. diplomat they claim is a CIA agent after they caught him red-handed trying to recruit a Russian agent.

What color are their hands now?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOHI8qdZkH8

The FSB said in a statement Tuesday that Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money when he was detained overnight.

Moose and squirrel costumes?

Well, definitely, Squirrel!

Fallon on May 14, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Just what Obama needs…another crisis. It’s getting hard out there for a pimp.

OxyCon on May 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Executive Putz Factor


A RESET button is in order??

Electrongod on May 14, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Former Senator Clinton had the word “overcharged” or “overloaded” on the button she thought said “reset”.

Now we have some gentleman running around Moscow with the most stupid wigs this side of the horrible red mop which G. Gordon Liddy wore in the Watergate break in.

Frankly, Vlad Putin has disappointed me. With a purge addled and underfunded intelligence service the USSR managed to steal atom bomb secrets in a flash.

His crew is led by his expertise and force of personality. He has a closed society lined up against the Former hippies and Mighty Ducks in Chaos Town we keep electing and appointing.

And the Russians lose Anna and the gang but catch one guy?

We should thank our stars. Including the venerated, beautiful ones looking down on us from a certain wall, in a building, in Langley, Virginia.

Thanks guys.

IlikedAUH2O on May 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Putin just wanted another house biotch

booger71 on May 14, 2013 at 1:01 PM

WAIT! Stop — Stop, all stop.

The FSB said in a statement Tuesday that Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money when he was detained overnight.

Disguises?

The “spy kit” included disguises? Really? :) Like what, exactly? Fake mustache, that kind of thing? Overcoat? Wig?

Axe on May 14, 2013 at 3:10 PM

On Tuesday, Russian state television 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. Two wigs, a compass, a map of Moscow, a pocket knife, three pairs of sunglasses and packages of 500 euro notes ($649 each) 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, written in Russian and addressed “Dear friend,” offers $100,000 (€77,059.41) to “discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation” and up to $1 million (€0.77 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.”

lol

Axe on May 14, 2013 at 3:11 PM

I can’t say who contacted me but..OK, it was Howard Hunt’s wig.

“But Hunt’s most notorious political service was getting lobbyist Dita Beard to disavow a damaging memo she’d written linking a Nixon political contribution to favorable anti-trust treatment. Using the alias “Ed Hamilton,” Howard Hunt visited her in a hospital wearing “a cheap, dimestore reddish-colored wig.” Her son told the reporters Hunt’s wig was on “cockeyed, as if he’d put it on in a dark car,” and added that Hunt was also wearing makeup and was “very eerie.”

A few days after the Watergate arrests, the same wig was found in the Watergate hotel.”

All the President’s Men contains two entries in its index for “Hunt, Howard – wigs of”

Source: 20 Secrets of an Infamous Dead Spy
By Lou Cabron
January 25th, 2007 Available on the web..

IlikedAUH2O on May 14, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Now that the annoying little election thingy is out of the way, Komrade Vlad now has the flexibility to arrest American diplomats. Hey, it worked in Libya…

Steve Z on May 15, 2013 at 9:23 AM