Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake,' US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with sale of warship to Russia

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

Europe

Russia expels US diplomat accused of spying

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-05-15

Russia on Tuesday expelled a US diplomat after saying authorities had caught him carrying disguises, special equipment, and instructions for recruiting an informant.

Russia expelled a U.S. diplomat on Tuesday after saying he had been caught red-handed with disguises, special equipment and wads of cash as he tried to recruit a Russian intelligence agent to work for the CIA.

The announcement, a throwback to the Cold War, came at an awkward time for Washington and Moscow as they try to improve relations and bring the warring sides in Syria together for an international peace conference.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, had been detained overnight carrying “special technical equipment”, a disguise, a large sum of money and instructions for recruiting his target.

The Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul to discuss the case on Wednesday and released a statement demanding Fogle leave Russia without delay.

“Such provocative actions in the spirit of the Cold War will by no means promote the strengthening of mutual trust,” it said.

Russian television showed grainy footage of a man identified as Fogle being arrested, and the state-run Russia Today channel published photographs on its website that it said showed Fogle being detained in a blond wig.

In one photograph, a man lay face-down on the ground with his arms being pinned behind his back.

Another image showed two wigs, apparently found on him, as well as three pairs of glasses, a torch, a mobile phone and a compass. Also displayed was a wad of 500-euro ($650) notes and a letter addressed to a “Dear friend”.

'Your cooperation valued'

“This is an advance from someone who has been highly impressed by your professionalism, and who would highly value your cooperation in the future,” the letter said.

“We are willing to offer you $100,000 and discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation, and payment could be significantly larger, if you are willing to answer concrete questions,” it said, offering $1 million a year for long-term cooperation plus possible bonuses for useful information.

The FSB, a successor to the Soviet KGB, said Fogle worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and that he had been handed over to embassy officials at some point after his detention.

The embassy declined comment. McFaul, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, was holding a live question-and-answer session on Twitter as news of the detention was announced, but refused to take questions on the matter.

McFaul has frequently been criticised by Russian media for his critical views on Russia and for meeting opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

More than two decades after the end of the Cold War, spying - and spy scandals - are still far from unusual.

The last major spy scandal was in 2010, when 10 Russian agents including Anna Chapman were arrested in the United States and later deported in exchange for four Russians imprisoned on charges of spying for the West.

U.S.-Russian relations had thawed markedly under Obama’s first-term "reset" of ties, but have chilled again since Putin, himself a former KGB spy, returned to the presidency a year ago.

Thaw to go on?

Putin has accused the United States of encouraging protests against him, and Russia has ejected the U.S. Agency for International Development and curbed U.S.-supported NGOs in moves it says are aimed at preventing foreign meddling.

But both Obama and Putin have signalled they want to patch things up again, and the countries are trying to improve counterterrorism cooperation after the Boston Marathon bombings. FBI chief Robert Mueller visited Moscow for talks last week.

Samuel Charap, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Moscow’s response would show whether it wanted to continue the recent thaw.

"Does the Russian government do what the U.S. did in 2010, and act quickly to defuse the issue, or does it use the incident to escalate tensions? That is the key question now.”

The Foreign Ministry said the incident raised “serious questions for the American side” at a time when Putin and Obama had “affirmed readiness to broaden bilateral interaction, including ... in the fight against international terrorism”.

Matthew Clements, Eurasia analyst at IHS Janes, said the row would probably blow over: “On the higher level .... both countries have always been adept at isolating these incidents from wider relations.”

Alexei Mukhin, director of the Moscow-based Centre for Political Information, said Putin would “make sure that this situation doesn’t get out of hand”.

He said U.S.-Russian ties would be “hard to ruin” because, after the strains of the past 18 months, they could hardly get much worse.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-05-14

  • DIPLOMACY

    US and Russia plan joint Syria peace conference

    Read more

  • Venezuela

    Venezuela expels US military officials for espionage

    Read more

  • IRAN - US

    Iran sentences 'CIA agent' to death

    Read more

COMMENT(S)