Suspected Russian agent worked at US's Moscow embassy for more than a decade: report

Suspected Russian agent worked at US's Moscow embassy for more than a decade: report

A suspected agent for the Russian government worked undetected in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for more than a decade, according to a Thursday report from The Guardian.

An unidentified Russian woman who worked for the Secret Service as a liaison between the agency and Russia's law enforcement and intelligence agencies was having regular unauthorized meetings with members of Kremlin's Federal Security Service (FSB), according to the U.K. newspaper.

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One unidentified source familiar with the woman's termination said she had access to the agency's email and intranet system, and argued that the agency had attempted to hide the breach by quietly firing her in 2017 without an investigation.

“The Secret Service is trying to hide the breach by firing [her],” The Guardian's source said. “The damage was already done but the senior management of the Secret Service did not conduct any internal investigation to assess the damage and to see if [she] recruited any other employees to provide her more information."

“Only an intense investigation by an outside source can determine the damage she has done," the source added.

The Secret Service did not deny suspicions about the woman's loyalties in a statement to The Guardian, but claimed that no foreign nationals had any access to information pertaining to national security.

“The U.S. Secret Service recognizes that all Foreign Service Nationals (FSN) who provide services in furtherance of our mission, administrative or otherwise, can be subjected to foreign intelligence influence," the agency said in a statement.

“At no time, in any U.S. Secret Service office, have FSNs been provided or placed in a position to obtain national security information.”

But the woman had access to "to the most damaging database, which is the U.S. Secret Service official mail system," The Guardian's source said.

“Part of her access was schedules of the president — current and past — vice-president, and their spouses, including Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIt is wrong to say 'no collusion' 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era And the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin MORE.”

News of the possible breach comes weeks after a Russian gun rights activist was arrested and charged with operating as an unregistered agent for the Russian government in the U.S., with prosecutors alleging that she attempted to set up secret lines of communication between conservative politicians and Russia.

It also comes amid ongoing investigations into Moscow's 2016 election hacking. The Guardian's source suggested the possible Moscow embassy mole would fall under special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's purview.

“Her activities of stealing and sharing information could shed more light on how the Russians were able to hack the 2016 presidential election office of the [Democratic National Committee] … I think that the special counsel would be the perfect outside entity to investigate the level of damage that [she] caused,” the source said.