Posts Tagged ‘Fogle’

May 2013

Russia Expels Former American Embassy Official

New York Times

A former senior Justice Department official at the American Embassy here was declared “persona non grata” and barred from Russia this month, according to people familiar with the case, possibly because he had rebuffed an effort by the Russian Federal Security Service to recruit him as a spy.

The former official, Thomas Firestone, had been living and working in Moscow as a lawyer for an American law firm, and had extensive contacts in the Russian government. He was detained at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow on May 5 while trying to return to Russia from a trip abroad; the authorities held him for 16 hours and then put him on a flight to the United States.

Mr. Firestone was contacted in March by Russian intelligence operatives who sought to enlist him to spy for the Russians, according to one person who is familiar with the case. Mr. Firestone turned them down, the person said. It was not clear whether the episode was the cause of his ejection from Russia.

The Obama administration has raised the matter of Mr. Firestone’s expulsion with the Russian government, according to one American government official. Spokesmen for the White House, the State Department, and the American Embassy in Moscow all declined to comment.

Details of Mr. Firestone’s case emerged on Sunday as Ryan C. Fogle, an American Embassy official who was arrested in Moscow last week in an embarrassing spy scandal, finally left Russia, as the Russian Foreign Ministry had demanded. Mr. Fogle, whose official title at the embassy in Moscow was third secretary of the political desk, was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service, and was accused of trying to recruit a Russian counterterrorism officer to spy for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Senior political leaders, including Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, have made clear that they do not intend to let the Russian-American spy games disrupt their cooperation on larger issues of international security, in particular a conference in Geneva aimed at resolving the civil war in Syria.

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