USA got key asset out of Russian Federation following election hacking

Henrietta Strickland
September 10, 2019

The US government extracted one of their most senior covert sources inside the Russian government in 2017 amid fears over how Donald Trump was handling intelligence, a US broadcaster has alleged.

According to the Times, the agent was the CIA's most valuable Russian asset.

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.

The network said the spy was pulled out of Russian Federation in 2017 due to concerns that President Donald Trump and his cabinet could expose the asset due to repeated mishandling of classified intelligence.

Although not about the spy specifically, CNN reported that Trump's revelation to the Russians spurred intelligence officials to pick up earlier discussions about the potential risk of the spy's exposure, according to a source involved in the matter. As such, the bulk of the report tries to get at the "why" behind the extraction, with some sources pointing a finger at the current administration's handling of classified material.

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

At the time, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo told other senior Trump administration officials that too much information was coming out regarding the covert source, known as an asset.

Earlier drafts of the statement had accused Russian President Vladimir Putin by name, but the reference was removed out of concern that it could endanger sources and methods, The Washington Post reported.

Russian rapper Timati
Russian rapper Timati

The agency offered to extract the source in late 2016 but the informant initially refused, citing family issues, the New York Times reported.

The White House responded by saying "CNN's reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger".

An unnamed United States official told CNN that there was media speculation about the existence of such a covert source at the time, which could have posed risks.

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

US officials had been concerned that Russian sources could be at risk of exposure as early as the fall of 2016, when the Obama administration first confirmed that Russia had stolen and publicly disclosed emails from the Democratic National Committee and the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.

There was no suggestion that President Trump directly compromised the source in Russian Federation, and reports said that widespread media speculation about USA intelligence conclusions had contributed to the decision to extract the source.

Moreover, CNN and MSNBC have hired a number of former intelligence officials, whose fingerprints have been all over 'Russiagate, ' as anti-Trump pundits.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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