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Russian intelligence works on spy scandal: Kremlin

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov can not confirm alleged Russian spy had access to classified information

Elena Teslova   | 11.09.2019
Russian intelligence works on spy scandal: Kremlin

MOSCOW

The Russian intelligence services are working with the information about the U.S. spy, who allegedly worked in the presidential administration, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

He also said he could not confirm that Russian national Oleg Smolenkov, suspected of spying within the country's government for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had an access to the classified information.

"I assert that there was such an employee, he was fired. Whether he was a spy or not, we don't know. This is area of the intelligence services. They are doing their job," he said.

"If he had an access to the special services data? No, this I can't confirm," Peskov added.

On Monday CNN presented a report that claimed the U.S. extracted one of their covert sources inside the Russian government in 2017 amid concerns that President Donald Trump "repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence."

According to the news report, based on multiple anonymous Trump administration officials, the extraction mission took place shortly after Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia's former U.S. envoy Sergey Kislyak in May 2017.

During those meetings, Trump discussed with the Russian officials classified intelligence regarding Daesh in Syria that had been given to the U.S. by Israel, the report said. This information was refuted by Lavrov, who said no secrets were let out at the meeting with Trump and Tillerson, which was confirmed by then the National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster.

A source that CNN said was directly involved in the decision to remove the spy from Russia, said Trump's disclosure renewed concerns that the U.S. informant’s identity could be exposed.

The CIA denied the report as "inaccurate".

"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," agency spokeswoman Brittany Bramell said.

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