Ryan Fogle, a US diplomat, has been detained in Moscow and accused of being an undercover CIA agent trying to recruit a member of Russian intelligence services.
Fogle is the third secretary in the political section at the US Embassy in Moscow. He was detained overnight on Monday before being released to US diplomats.
A statement from Russian officials accused Fogle of being an undercover CIA agent, adding that he had a recruitment note to a Russian citizen, a large sum of money, and materials used to change a person’s appearance.
“The U.S. intelligence community recently has made repeated attempts to recruit employees of Russia’s law-enforcement bodies and special agencies, which have been recorded and monitored by [Russia’s] counterespionage forces,” Russian officials said.
Russian officials said Fogle was pretending to be a career diplomat, but really was a CIA agent. A photo published across Russian media showed his Russian-issued diplomatic identification card. They also published a photo of a man with shoulder-length blonde hair being pinned to the ground by Russian agents and arrested.
The detainment of the US diplomat as a spy came as the White House and the Kremlin were trying to patch up their relationship. US Secretary of State John Kerry had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia had also cut off adoptions to the United States, further straining relations between the two nations. And many in the US have put pressure on Russia after a proposal emerged to prevent adoptions to same-sex couples. It is believed the measure is aimed at the United States and other nations on the brink of legalizing gay marriage.
Ryan Fogle’s arrest comes three years after the US exposed a network of Russian agents including Anna Chapman, the redheaded model who became a minor celebrity after the incident.
The US Embassy did not comment on the US diplomat detained as a spy in Russia.