An American diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has been arrested in Russia and accused of being a CIA agent, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Ryan Fogle, the third secretary in the political section of the embassy, was detained by Russia’s counterintelligence service, who have said that they caught him trying to recruit a Russian agent.
Russia Today, the Kremlin-sponsored outlet, has multiple photos of Fogle being arrested and also the tools with which he was allegedly conducting his tradecraft: wigs, a flashlight, sunglasses, stacks of cash, and a map and compass. RT also has a copy of the letter that Fogle allegedly gave to the agent he tried to recruit, which includes instructions on how to initiate contact and offers him $100,000 for his cooperation.
A spokesman for the State Department didn’t immediately have comment on the situation, and a CIA spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michael McFaul, the American ambassador to Russia, declined to comment on the incident during a Twitter Q&A today, saying “no” to a questioner who asked if he could confirm that it had happened.
CBS reporter Margaret Brennan reported that McFaul has been summoned to come into the Foreign Ministry tomorrow to talk about the alleged spying.
Update: State Department deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell refused to confirm or deny whether or not Fogle is a spy during the pres briefing on Tuesday.
“We can confirm that an officer at the embassy in Moscow was detained and then released,” Ventrell said, adding that “we have no further comment at this time.”
Asked specifically is Fogle was a spy, Ventrell said “all I can confirm was that a member of our embassy was detained.” He would not elaborate on Fogle’s role at the embassy beyond his being a “staff member.” (1:44 p.m.)