The FBI is reportedly investigating a Russian news agency to see if it has violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Yahoo News on Monday reported that the bureau questioned a former Sputnik News correspondent and that it has acquired thousands of internal documents from the agency as it seeks to determine whether or not Sputnik is acting as a propaganda arm for the Kremlin.
The former correspondent, Andrew Feinberg, provided the FBI with the emails, the report said.
“They wanted to know where did my orders come from and if I ever got any direction from Moscow,” Feinberg told the news outlet. “They were interested in examples of how I was steered towards covering certain issues.”
Feinberg said during his time at Sputnik his editors would often describe assignments by saying " 'Moscow wants this or Moscow wants that.' "
News of the investigation comes as special counsel Robert Mueller continues the probe into Russia’s election meddling and any potential ties between President Trump’s campaign staff and the Kremlin, though it is unclear if the Sputnik investigation is part of the special counsel probe.
“We are not confirming whether specific matters are or are not part of our ongoing investigation,” a special counsel spokesman told Yahoo.
Sputnik is owned by a news agency that is controlled by the Kremlin.
Mindia Gavasheli, the editor-in-chief of Sputnik in the United States, dismissed the allegations to Yahoo.
“Any assertion that we are not a news organization is simply false,” Gavasheli told the news outlet.
“This is the first time I’m hearing about it, and I don’t think anyone at Sputnik was contacted, so thank you for letting us know.”