Wednesday, May 15, 2013

5 signs there’s something fishy about the alleged CIA spy arrested in Moscow

A man identified as Ryan Fogle by the Russian Federal Security Service lies on the ground during his detention in this undated photograph released by the press service of the FSS on  May 14. (Press service of Russian Federal Security Service via Reuters).

A man named as Ryan Fogle by the Russian Federal Security Service, lies on the ground during his detention in this undated handout photograph released by the Press service of Russian Federal Security Service May 14, 2013. Russia said on Tuesday it had caught an American red-handed as he tried to recruit a Russian intelligence officer to work for the CIA, a throwback to the Cold War era that risks upsetting efforts to improve relations. The Federal Security Service said Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, had been detained overnight carrying "special technical equipment", a disguise, a large sum of money and instructions for recruiting his target. The U.S. Embassy declined comment. (Press service of Russian Federal Security Service/Handout via Reuters)  

Shortly after Russian state security arrested an American diplomat named Ryan C. Fogle, alleging that he was actually a CIA spy who’d sought to pay a Russian official for information, the Moscow-financed media outlet RT published a surprisingly detailed series of photos and videos showing Fogle’s arrest. Within moments of the story breaking, RT had shown the world what it said were Fogle’s fake wigs, his bundles of cash, even a letter explaining his plans.

As is often the case with moments of U.S.-Russia tension, Fogle’s arrest has spurred skepticism and suspicion in both countries. But there are a number of credulity-straining details in this incident so bizarre that it’s difficult to square them with what we know about how the CIA actually works. That alone isn’t proof of anything, but as long as Russian media and security services are pushing hard on this story, it’s worth noting the signs that have a number of Russia-watchers wondering whether there’s something fishy to the story.

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