The Russian government said Tuesday that Ryan Fogle, an employee at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, was apprehended on Monday night while attempting to recruit a source for the Central Intelligence Agency.
A statement released Tuesday by Russia's Federal Security Service accused Fogle, a political employee at the embassy, of being a member of the CIA. The U.S. has been actively attempting to recruit Russian law enforcement sources, the FSB alleged in its statement.
Fogle was released to U.S. embassy officials, and the Russian government has asked him to leave the country. The embassy does not have a statement about the case on its website.
Russia Today published an English translation of a letter allegedly seized by the FSB. It is written in Russian to an unspecified "friend" and offers $100,000 to "discuss your experience" and "up to $1 million a year for long-term cooperation, with extra bonuses if we receive some helpful information."
The letter instructs the recipient to create a Gmail account using no personal information and to then email the account unbacggdA@gmail.com. The letter promises a response "from us" in exactly one week. An email sent by U.S. News to the email address specified did not receive an immediate response.
The FSB released photos and video of Fogle's arrest to RT, which provides English-language news in the U.S. and is funded by the Russian government.
One possible inconsistency in the FSB's allegations is that Fogle's supposed letter offered U.S. dollars, but he was arrested carrying euros. One photo published by RT shows several 500 euro bills. Along with cash, Fogle allegedly had wigs, a compass, a microphone and other technical equipment.
"Russian officials have declared Ryan Fogle persona non grata and requested his immediate deportation to his home country," said a Tuesday tweet in English from Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned US Ambassador Michael McFaul for a démarche," said another tweet.
The CIA declined to comment on the allegations.
Secretary of State John Kerry visited Moscow last week, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a joint press conference with Kerry on May 7 Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said the leaders discussed "our mutual desire to overcome the vestige of past times and to strengthen trust."
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Updated 05/14/13: This article was updated to reflect the CIA's response to a request for comment.