A CIA asset pulled from Russia has reportedly confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
According to New York Times report on Sunday, the informant, who was “outside of Mr. Putin’s inner circle,” but regularly interacted with him, has verified that the Russian leader personally issued the order.
The informant was initially suspected of being a double agent as he refused an offer of ex-filtration from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2017, citing family concerns. “But the CIA pressed again months later after more media inquiries. This time, the informant agreed,” said the Times. “The move brought to an end the career of one of the CIA’s most important sources. It also effectively blinded American intelligence officials to the view from inside Russia as they sought clues about Kremlin interference in the 2018 midterm elections and next year’s presidential contest.”
US officials who have kept his identity and location secret allege that his life is in danger.
“Handling and running a Moscow-based informant is extremely difficult because of Mr. Putin’s counterintelligence defenses. The Russians are known to make life miserable for foreign spies, following them constantly and at times even roughing them up.” the report alleged. “Former CIA employees describe the entanglements as ‘Moscow rules.’”
The US intelligence community released a report after the 2016 election, concluding that Moscow was behind meddling in the US vote, yet refusing to comment on the impact it potentially had.
The Kremlin denies having played any role in the 2016 election that yielded President Donald Trump.