A former Russian spy who secretly fed the US information from the Kremlin for decades was extracted from his post by the Trump administration in 2017, several reports said Monday.
The spy was one of the most important officials working for the US during Russia’s campaign to tamper with the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reported.
The former informant helped US intelligence agencies reach the conclusion that Vladimir Putin had ordered and oversaw the campaign to influence the presidential election, according to the report.
US authorities first suggested to the informant that they should be extracted from Russia after officials released detailed information about the Russian effort to influence the election, according to the Times.
News reporters in the US noticed details about potential sources in the information and sent inquiries to the administration. The CIA then pressed the informant to come to the US, the Times reported.
The former spook — described by CNN as one of the “highest-level” US assets in Russia — left his post, in part, because of President Trump’s mishandling of classified information, the network reported, citing a “person directly involved” in the extraction.
The White House responded by saying “CNN’s reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger.”
Several former intelligence officials also told the Times that the media scrutiny — not Trump’s handling of classified information — was the reason behind the extraction.
The former spy is now living in the Washington, DC, area under protection from the US government, according to NBC.
The individual’s name and other identifying factors were not released.
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