US unveil Putin role in 2016 US election ―Reports

Cheryl Sanders
September 10, 2019

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, "CNN's reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger".

U.S. agents extracted a high-level Russian government source who had confirmed Vladimir Putin's direct role in interfering in the 2016 United States presidential election, USA media reported late Monday.

Oleg Smolenkov, a Russian national, whom media reports refer to as a possible Central Intelligence Agency agent, has never worked for the Administrative Directorate of the President of the Russian Federation.

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.

Smolenkov had been a longtime trusted assistant of Yury Ushakov - a senior foreign policy aide to Putin - dating back to Ushakov's years as Russian ambassador to the U.S., Kommersant cited several unnamed sources as saying.

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.

The report, published Monday by CNN, cited multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge of the spy's removal.

The informant was also directly linked Putin to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, resulting in the release of a flood of embarrassing messages, the newspaper reported.

A top USA spy who was reportedly evacuated from Russian Federation could have been a senior Kremlin official's aide who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, the Kommersant business daily has reported. Russian investigators had initially probed Smolenkov's disappearance as a murder case, but Kommersant reported the Federal Security Service (FSB) later found he was alive and living overseas.

Still, reports say the decision to carry out the extraction was finally made after the Oval Office meeting.

The Washington Post reported that the CIA's information relied on "sourcing deep within the Russian government". Weeks after the decision to extract the spy, in July 2017, Trump met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg and took the unusual step of confiscating the interpreter's notes.

Some operatives had other reasons to suspect the source could be a double agent, according to two former officials, but they declined to explain further.

The source was considered the highest level source for the US inside the Kremlin, high up in the national security infrastructure, according to the source familiar with the matter and a former senior intelligence official.

When the NBC correspondent approached the home two men - who identified themselves as friends of the Russian - suddenly appeared and questioned why he wanted to speak to the occupant. In 2006, Russian operatives killed former intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko in London by placing radioactive material in his tea, according to a British investigation.

Other reports by iNewsToday