By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Well, this is embarrassing for the U.S. It was reported yesterday that a woman who is suspected of being a Russian spy worked at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and had access to highly sensitive information for more than a decade before she was quietly let go in 2017. Do tell. She’s a Russian national, who was recruited by the U.S. Secret Service and had access to the agency’s Intranet and emails. These included presidential and vice presidential schedules. That was the case until a U.S. Department of State’s Regional Security Office security check that took place in 2016 during a routine review of Secret Service personnel in the so-called Paris district of the agency, which includes Moscow, London, and Frankfurt. The RSO reviews take place every five years.
“She had access to the most damaging database, which is the US Secret Service official mail system,” the source claimed. “Part of her access was schedules of the president – current and past, vice-president and their spouses, including Hillary Clinton.” She had plenty of time to gather intelligence without supervision, the source stated. “Several employees interacted with her on a personal level by emailing her personally on a non-work account. This isn’t allowed.”
The Regional Security Office sounded the alarm in January 2017, but the Secret Service did not launch a full-scale inquiry of its own. Instead, it decided to let her go quietly months later, possibly to contain any potential embarrassment. That is unacceptable. It should have been made public for a number of reasons. Foremost would be so others could expose anything that was off concerning this incident. An intelligence source told the Guardian the woman was dismissed last summer after the State Department revoked her security clearance.
“The Secret Service is trying to hide the breach by firing [her],” the source stated. “The damage was already done but the senior management of the Secret Service did not conduct any internal investigation to assess the damage and to see if [she] recruited any other employees to provide her with more information. Only an intense investigation by an outside source can determine the damage she has done.” The potential breach was not reported to any of the congressional intelligence or oversight committees.
“We figure that all of them are talking to the FSB, but she was giving them way more information than she should have,” an official said. “We knew it was happening and it was just a process of playing it out and giving her specific information that we saw her give back to the FSB,” the official said. They are claiming that the woman was not a national security threat and did not have access to highly classified information.
Evidently, two security office investigators uncovered activities where this woman frequently held unauthorized meetings with members of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, commonly known as the FSB. They used to be known as the KGB. They are Russia’s version of the CIA… in other words, spies. Oh, but they are so much more and they are brutal as well. And somehow, they had access to what our leaders were doing at any given time. If they had those schedules, they could have taken them out whenever they wanted to. But they didn’t, so they were obviously more interested in obtaining information instead.
The woman’s departure occurred shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin expelled more than 700 U.S. diplomats and staff from Russia in August 2017 in retaliation for economic sanctions imposed by Congress. He knew she could no longer be of use there and she was extracted.
From the Secret Service:
“The US Secret Service recognizes that all Foreign Service Nationals (FSN) who provide services in furtherance of our mission, administrative or otherwise, can be subjected to foreign intelligence influence.
“This is of particular emphasis in Russia. As such, all foreign service nationals are managed accordingly to ensure that Secret Service and United States government interests are protected at all times. As a result, the duties are limited to translation, interpretation, cultural guidance, liaison and administrative support.
“It was specifically the duties of the FSN position in Moscow to assist our attaches and agency by engaging the Russian government, including the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian Ministry of the Interior (MVD), and the Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) in furtherance of Secret Service interests.”
The statement went on to say that at no time were foreign service nationals in a position to obtain national security information. Really? Because it doesn’t sound that way to me quite frankly. The discovery of a suspected FSB mole on the staff within the U.S. Embassy in Moscow would be hugely damaging to their reputation and could have severe consequences for the safety of other Secret Service staff and those it is mandated to protect. Someone should investigate the Secret Service over this and find out exactly how much damage there is and if there are any other moles that need ferreting out. I have no doubt there are more.