Trump Administration Blasts Reports it Pulled Top US Spy from Kremlin

The Russian intelligence service says it is looking into the case of Oleg Smolenkov who may have been a CIA informant

The Russian intelligence service says it is looking into the case of Oleg Smolenkov who may have been a CIA informant

The reports say USA officials were anxious the mole was about to be exposed because of the controversy in the US surrounding the Russian interference.

USA intelligence agencies have claimed Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election campaign in order to tilt the vote in President Donald Trump's favour. Moscow has denied any interference.

The CIA on Monday evening slammed what it called CNN's "misguided" and "simply false" reporting, after the cable channel's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, authored a hole-filled piece claiming that the CIA had pulled a high-level spy out of Russian Federation because Trump had "repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy".

The individual was key in providing information that led U.S. intelligence to conclude Mr Putin directly orchestrated Russian interference in favour of Mr Trump and against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, the Times said.

He told Interfax news agency: 'He couldn't have had any role in so-called [election] meddling because there was no meddling'.

A source familiar with the USA government's handling of the informant told Reuters the mole had provided information that helped establish Russian involvement in efforts to influence the 2016 US campaign.

The extraction "effectively blinded" American intelligence to the Kremlin's inner workings during the 2018 U.S. midterm election, the Times report said, as well as the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

U.S. intelligence agencies have claimed Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election campaign in order to tilt the vote towards Donald Trump.

Russian daily newspaper Kommersant has said that the official may have been a man called Oleg Smolenkov. He was reported to have disappeared with his wife, Antonina, and three children while on holiday in Montenegro in June 2017.

During his meeting with reporters, Dmitry Peskov said that Smolenkov was an employee of the Administration of the President and was sacked a few years ago. "This is a question for the intelligence services - they are doing their job". As the Times reports, "Former intelligence officials said there was no public evidence that Mr. Trump directly endangered the source, and other current American officials insisted that media scrutiny of the agency's sources alone was the impetus for the extraction".

Oleg Smolenkov, the CIA's reported asset inside the Kremlin, worked for at least five years in the office of Yuri Ushakov, now a presidential adviser on foreign policy, a source close to Russia's intelligence community told the newspaper Vedomosti.

The individual had been providing information to United States intelligence for decades, had access to Mr Putin and had sent pictures of high-level documents on the Russian leader's desk, CNN said.

It said the curtains of the house were drawn, that there was no sign of any activity inside and that no one answered the door.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday angrily denounced the reports detailing the secret ex-filtration of a Central Intelligence Agency mole, saying such reports could put lives at risk.

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