(AP) US ambassador summoned by Russian foreign ministry
The U.S. Ambassador to Russia was summoned by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday over Moscow’s claim it caught a U.S. diplomat disguised in a blond wig trying to recruit a counterintelligence officer.
Michael McFaul entered the ministry’s building in central Moscow morning and left half an hour later without saying a word to journalists waiting outside the compound.
Russian security officials reported on Tuesday that they briefly detained Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy, who was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money. Fogle was later handed over to U.S. Embassy officials.
Fogle’s detention appeared to be the first case of an American diplomat publicly accused of spying in about a decade and seemed certain to put further strain on relations between the two countries.
The State Department would only confirm that Fogle worked as an embassy employee, but wouldn’t give any details about his employment record or responsibilities in Russia. The CIA declined comment.
The Russian foreign ministry promptly declared Fogle persona non grata and ordered him to leave Russia immediately. He has diplomatic immunity, which protects him from arrest.
Despite the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still maintain active espionage operations against each other. Last year, several Russians were convicted in separate cases of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.