Washington / Moscow (AP) - A Russian spy for the US with contact with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin is said to have been withdrawn according to US media reports in 2017.
The US foreign intelligence service CIA have brought the informant because of an impending Enttarnung out of the country, reported the station CNN and the "New York Times". For more than ten years, Washington has provided important insights. Various statements made the two media about the role played by the controversial treatment of US President Donald Trump with intelligence information.
CNN, citing a person familiar with the case, said the withdrawal was partly due to concerns that Trump and his government might expose the spy for their careless handling of intelligence information. The decision was taken after Trump had discussed secret information from Israeli sources in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in May 2017.
By contrast, the New York Times, citing former intelligence officials, reported that there was no public evidence that Trump had endangered the spy. Other government officials have indicated that research by the media led to the withdrawal. CIA spokeswoman Brittany Bramell also told CNN that it was wrong that Trump's actions resulted in a "supposed" withdrawal of a spy. The White House spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, also cited the CNN report as inaccurate, according to the broadcaster.
The Kremlin emphasized that the case could not be confirmed in this way. There was an employee, to whom the media reports could apply. However, he was released some time ago. "I do not know if he was an agent or not," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti. Lavrov said he did not know the alleged spy, nor did he ever meet the man. The story is just rumors. In addition, Trump had revealed no secret information when meeting with him.
The New York Times wrote that the informant was considered one of the most valuable CIA sources. His information has also led to significant conclusions from the US intelligence service that Putin has ordered the interference of Moscow in the US election in 2016. The withdrawal of the top informant is therefore also in view of the upcoming US presidential campaign a loss. Putin, who used to be an intelligence officer himself, had repeatedly explicitly denied interference.
The informant had regular contact with Putin, according to the New York Times, but was not one of his closest circle. According to the CNN report, the spy sometimes delivered pictures of documents on Putin's desk.