According to CNN, a Russian spy was caught working at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for over a decade before being fired last year.
The Russian spy reportedly worked for the U.S. Secret Service before the state department’s regional security office grew suspicious of her in 2016. The security office was alerted to the spy’s unauthorized meetings with the FSB, a Russian intelligence agency.
“We figure that all of them are talking to the FSB, but she was giving them way more information than she should have,” one state department official claimed.
Later in January of 2017, the spy was fired after being caught “red-handed” by the department’s regional security office. The same official issued a statement at the time about the dismissal.
“We knew it was happening and it was just a process of playing it out and giving her specific information that we saw her give back to the FSB.”
While the spy was given access to the Secret Service’s email systems, the statement departments insists that there is no national security issue because she was not privy to any highly classified information.
An anonymous source informed CNN that the spy was specifically employed by the state department, but added that it was part of her job description to work for the Secret Service as well.
Declining to comment, the State Department simply said the following.
“We have no information for you on this alleged incident.”
The Secret Service, however, issued a statement on Thursday claiming that the spy was never informed of any national security security secrets, adding that she was never in any “position to obtain” such information.
Acknowledging that foreign nationals can clearly be influenced by foreign intelligence agencies at any time, the agency noted that this situation is specifically tailored to Russia.
“As such,” the statement read, “all Foreign Service Nationals are managed accordingly, to ensure that Secret Service and United States Government interests are protected at all times. As a result, the duties are limited to translation, interpretation, cultural guidance, liaison and administrative support.”
The state department later went on to concede the risk that foreign governments can pose to those employed by the U.S. government. In a statement released to CNN, the department stated the following.
“Diplomatic Security and other law enforcement agencies rigorously vet new hires at our missions overseas, and all employees are also subject to ongoing reviews to ensure they are fully complying with their security responsibilities and Department security requirements.”
“When we identify an employee in violation of security directives,” the state department continued, “we take appropriate action at the appropriate time.”