A former senior Russian official is living in the Washington area under U.S. government protection, current and former government officials tell NBC News.

NBC News is withholding the man’s name and other key details at the request of U.S. officials, who say reporting the information could endanger his life.

Yet the former Russian government official, who had a job with access to secrets, was living openly under his true name.

On Wednesday, an NBC News correspondent went to the man’s house in the Washington area and rang the doorbell. Five minutes later, two young men in an SUV came racing up the street and parked immediately adjacent to the correspondent’s car.