Published: Tue, September 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

USA got key asset out of Russian Federation after election hacking

USA got key asset out of Russian Federation after election hacking

Citing "multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge" of the operation, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence feared the source's cover could be blown by United States officials.

Other current and former officials who acknowledged the doubts said they were put to rest when the source agreed to be extracted after the Central Intelligence Agency asked a second time.

US media are reporting that the CIA in 2017 extracted a Russian who provided top-secret intelligence on President Vladimir Putin, including information about alleged Russian meddling in the USA 2016 presidential election.

Senior US intelligence officials considered extracting at least one Russian asset at the time but did not do so, according to the former senior intelligence official.

The decision was made soon after a meeting in which President Trump unexpectedly shared classified U.S. intelligence with Russian officials.

The removal of the spy is an "extraordinary remedy taken when US intelligence believes an asset is in immediate danger", CNN wrote.

The CIA's director of public affairs, Brittany Bramell, told CNN: "Misguided speculation that the President's handling of our nation's most sensitive intelligence - which he has access to each and every day - drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate". A White House spokeswoman called the CNN report incorrect.

The removal happened at a time of wide concern in the intelligence community about mishandling of intelligence by Trump and his administration.

Those concerns continued to grow in the period after Trump's Oval Office meeting with Kislyak and Lavrov.

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On Tuesday, Russian media named the alleged spy, reporting that he had worked at the Russian embassy in Washington before moving to Moscow. That would nearly certainly mean that some of the information the informant provided about the Russian interference campaign or Mr. Putin's intentions would have been inaccurate.

But the government had indicated that the source existed long before Trump took office, first in formally accusing Russian Federation of interference in October 2016 and then when intelligence officials declassified parts of their assessment about the interference campaign for public release in January 2017.

The United States successfully extracted from Russian Federation two years ago one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Kremlin, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN.

"That's a pretty remarkable intelligence community product - much more specific than what you normally see", one US official said.

Despite providing vital intelligence from Vladimir Putin's inner circle, the spy was pulled out of Moscow in 2017 amid fears for their safety.

U.S. network NBC meanwhile claimed to have found a man living in the Washington area who - according to two Federal Bureau of Investigation sources - matched the descriptions of the man in the CNN report.

NBC reported that he was living under his real name in the Washington DC area or in Virginia, under us government protection.

Those concerns grew in early 2017 after the US intelligence community released a public report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a conclusion that The New York Times reported was drawn with the help of information provided by the source.

In the first half of 2017, however, the Russian agreed. Details of the extraction itself remain secret and the whereabouts of the asset today are unknown to CNN.

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