Russian agency says CIA member tried to recruit Russian

MGN
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 9:41am

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russia's FSB counterintelligence agency said Tuesday that it briefly detained a suspected member of the CIA who was trying to recruit a staff member of one of the Russian special services.

The man has been handed over to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, following formal protocol, the FSB said.

Nikolai Zakharov, a spokesman for the FSB, said the accused spy was Ryan Fogle, third secretary of the Political Department of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

"He is a diplomat," he said, implying that he cannot be arrested. It will be decided later whether he stays in Russia, Zakharov said.

"He tried to recruit someone from one of our services," he said, but did not elaborate on which one.

He added that the Russian approached by Fogle was free and that there were no charges or accusations against him.

The U.S. diplomat had "special technical devices, written instructions for the Russian citizen being recruited, a large sum of cash and means of changing his appearance," state news agency RIA-Novosti quotes the FSB as saying.

An image released by the FSB shows what it says are his belongings, including wigs, a knife, dark glasses and a compass.

Another shows what appears to be a large quantity of high-denomination euro currency notes.

The man, with short brown hair and dressed in a blue-and-white-checked shirt, is also pictured apparently being detained by security in the street and seated at a desk for questioning.

A photograph of the man's ID card released by the FSB also identifies him as Ryan Fogle.

The embassy did not have an immediate comment but said it would issue a statement later Tuesday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul for an explanation.

It's not the first time in recent years that Russia and the United States have traded claims about alleged agents, in episodes reminiscent of the Cold War era.

In 2010, the two nations carried out a "spy swap" in Vienna, Austria.

The United States exchanged 10 Russian agents who'd been expelled from the U.S. for intelligence gathering for four individuals who'd been incarcerated in Russia.

-- CNN's Alla Eshchenko reported from Moscow, Nick Paton Walsh reported in London and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London.

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