Alleged Russian spy caught working in United States embassy

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The spy was sacked last summer, sources told the paper, shortly before the Kremlin demanded the expulsion of 750 United States personnel after Washington increased sanctions of the country.

The discovery of a suspected FSB mole on its staff within the USA embassy in Moscow would be hugely damaging to its reputation and could have severe consequences for the safety of other Secret Service staff and those it is mandated to protect.

Russian policemen stand guard in front of the US Embassy in Moscow on December 30, 2016.

U.S. National Security Compromised?

Michael McFaul was the U.S. Ambassador to Russian Federation under the Obama administration and told MSNBC that he was unaware of any suspicious activity by the undercover agent, "although it sounds like this woman worked for me when I was there".

"As a result, the duties are limited to translation, interpretation, cultural guidance, liaison and administrative support.At no time, in any U.S. Secret Service office, have FSNs been provided or placed in a position to obtain national security information".

The woman was quietly dismissed previous year as the U.S. Secret Service sought to avoid public embarrassment on the matter, the Guardian reported, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to order 750 U.S. diplomatic staff out of Russia served to create a smokescreen for her dismissal.

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McFaul said that there are risk-mitigation procedures in place to prevent non-U.S. staff from having access to sensitive information. U.S. investigators suspect that a Russian spy had been working at the U.S. Embassy for years without U.S. knowledge.

An intelligence source told the woman was dismissed last summer after the state department revoked her security clearance. The foreign office found her being hand-in-glove with FSB, Russia's premier security agency, during her near-decade association with the American high commission.

'Only an intense investigation by an outside source can determine the damage she has done'.

American agents set up a sting.

"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".

She did not have access to highly classified information, according to the official.

Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman, speaking to Russia's TASS news agency, also reiterated that foreign nationals employed by the US Secret Service can not have any access to the information pertaining to matters of national security.

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