Russian spies ramping up intelligence-gathering efforts: report

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Russian intelligence agents have stepped up their efforts to gather U.S. intelligence following the 2016 election, according to a new report by CNN.

U.S. intelligence officials told CNN they have noticed an uptick in activity from Russian spies in the months since the election, apparently emboldened by the lack of a coordinated response by both President Obama and President Trump’s administrations.

“Russians have maintained an aggressive collection posture in the U.S., and their success in election meddling has not deterred them,” a former senior intelligence official told CNN.

Another former official said the “volume” of Russian agents coming into the country was cause alone for concern.

“The concerning point with Russia is the volume of people that are coming to the U.S.,” the official said. “They have a lot more intelligence officers in the U.S.” than in other countries, they added.

Russia is suspected to now have nearly 150 intelligence agents in the country — replenishing its ranks after 35 agents were expelled by the Obama administration in December.

“Whenever there is a deterioration of relations between countries — the espionage and intelligence collection part becomes that much more important as they try to determine the plans and intentions of the adversarial government,” Steve Hall, a former CIA chief of operations, told CNN.

{monads}The U.S. government is still pursuing action against suspected Russian spies. In April, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported Evgeny Buryakov, a 42-year-old who was convicted of spying for the Russian government.

“Removing individuals like Mr. Buryakov represents ICE’s highest enforcement priority, which is protecting the national security of the United States,” ICE said in a statement in April.

Buryakov pleaded guilty in March 2016 to conspiring to work covertly as a Russian agent in the U.S. without notifying the attorney general.

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