Report: CIA extracted 'top spy' from Moscow in 2017

CIA, White House slam CNN report which claimed CIA pulled out spy from Moscow over fears Trump could inadvertently expose spy's identity.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The White House on Monday pushed back on a report by CNN that the CIA extracted a spy from Moscow over concerns President Donald Trump could reveal the spy’s identity.

According to the report, the spy was extracted in 2017, and had worked in Moscow, passing along information from the Russian government to the US.

The New York Times wrote that the spy was a “midlevel Russian official” who was recruited by the CIA decades ago, eventually rising to an “influential position” with access to the “highest level” of the Kremlin.

In 2016, the spy sent US intelligence officials information on Russia’s interference in the presidential election.

Late that year, the CIA is said to have offered to extract the spy, amid concerns for the spy’s safety. The initial offer was turned down, however.

A year later, however, the spy was extracted by the US, CNN reported, citing “multiple Trump administration officials”.

The final decision to pull the spy was made after a May 2017 meeting in the White House between President Trump and two senior Russian officials: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

After the president shared information on the ISIS terrorist organization with the Russian officials, CIA officials reportedly became concerned the president’s handling of classified material could potentially lead to the inadvertent outing of the spy in Moscow.

But the White House on Monday pushed back on the report, calling it “incorrect” and potentially dangerous.

CNN’s reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger,” said White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

The CIA also hit CNN over the report, calling it “misguided” and “false”.

"CNN's narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false," CIA Director for Public Affairs Brittany Bramell said in a statement.

"Misguided speculation that the President's handling of our nation's most sensitive intelligence - which he has access to each and every day - drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate."