Russia prosecutes reputed U.S. spy-ring turncoat
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s domestic intelligence agency said on Tuesday that it had established the guilt of a man local media have identified as the spymaster who betrayed a ring of agents operating in the United States last year.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putinand other officials have suggested a turncoat’s betrayal led to the U.S. arrest of 10 Russian agents and their deportation in a Cold War-style spy swap on a Vienna airport tarmac in July.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) said military prosecutors had sent the case against “Russian Federation citizen A. N. Poteyev” to court after FSB investigators determined he was guilty of treason and desertion, Russian news agencies reported.
Russian media have identified the suspected traitor as Alexander Poteyev, a Foreign Intelligence Service colonel and deputy chief of “illegal intelligence” — the term for spies operating without diplomatic immunity — in the United States.
The FSB declined to comment.
Poteyev reportedly fled to the United States days before the spy ring was broken up in a high-profile operation that embarrassed Russia’s proud intelligence agencies.
(Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Steve Gutterman)
Creative Commons image via flickr user ocularinvasion.