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American spy forced to flee Russia by Trump’s loose lips was key intelligence asset who detailed Putin’s election interference effort

2019-09-10

An American spy forced to flee Russia after President Trump spilled key classified information was reportedly a key mole inside the Kremlin whose departure marked a major setback for intelligence efforts.

The ouster of the CIA operative was dismissed Tuesday as “pulp fiction” by President Vladimir Putin’s aides even as details emerged that he was an invaluable intelligence asset who funneled information to American handlers for decades.

The spy was pulled out of Russia in 2017 amid concerns that Trump would endanger his safety due to his cozy relationship with Putin — a shocking new sign of how the mercurial president is hurting U.S. interests.

The informant had given the CIA a rare window into the highest levels of Kremlin decision-making including Russia’s efforts to interfere in American elections in 2016 on behalf of Trump, the New York Times reported.

The operative initially resisted efforts to leave Russia out of fears his family could face retaliation. But he eventually agreed to leave and is now in hiding in the U.S. under government protection.

After the spy’s dramatic departure, American intelligence had much less insight into Putin’s push to influence the 2018 midterms and any possible effort to boost Trump’s reelection push in 2020.

Putin aide Dmitri Peskov pooh-poohed the spy drama as “pulp fiction” and insisted the spy was a low level Kremlin worker who had no access to Putin and left his post in 2017.

“This is more the genre of pulp fiction, crime reading, so let’s leave it up to them,” Peskov told reporters Tuesday.

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the Russian efforts to help him and famously said he believes Putin’s denials of the well-documented interference.

The president blabbed about key classified U.S. intelligence during a shocking 2017 White House meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, raising fears that he had also given the Kremlin clues about the identity of the operative.