Russia Orders Alleged U.S. Spy To Leave Country

Russia's Federal Security Service says it apprehended a U.S. Embassy officer and accuses him of trying to entice a Russian official to provide classified information to the CIA. Russian authorities provided a photo, allegedly of third secretary Ryan Christopher Fogle, wearing a wig, and a photo of cash he was carrying along with a compass and a Moscow street map. Vogel was handed over to the U.S. Embassy after being questioned.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to Russia, where a U.S. Embassy employee has been ordered to leave the country, this after Russian authorities nabbed him in a highly publicized arrest. They charge the American as a CIA agent who was caught trying to recruit a Russian spy.

NPR's Corey Flintoff tells us more.

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement declaring Ryan Christopher Fogle to be persona non grata, and expelling him from the country. It's said the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, has been summoned to appear at the Ministry tomorrow, to face questions about the incident.

The statement said that Fogle was arrested last night while trying to recruit a member of the Russian intelligence service to spy for the United States. The story first broke in the early afternoon today, when the Russian Federal Security Service - the FSB - announced the arrest and provided a wealth of detail to the state news media.

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FLINTOFF: The story immediately hit the headlines on the pro-government TV channel NTV.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

FLINTOFF: It said that Fogle was working as a comparatively junior position in the political section at the U.S. Embassy, but that was actually does cover for his activities as a CIA spy. The FSB provided dramatic photos and video of a man identified as Fogle, lying facedown on the pavement as a plainclothes policeman clasps on the handcuffs. The man in the photograph is shown wearing a baseball cap sitting askew on a mop of blond hair.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Fogle Ryan Christopher (Foreign language spoken)

FLINTOFF: The story made much of the evidence that was allegedly found on Fogle when he was arrested. It included a large sum of money in euros, a map of Moscow and a compass, dark glasses and two floppy wigs - one blonde and the other dark. Photos of the items also showed a letter to the purported recruit, promising an initial payment of $100,000 and $1 million a year if the recruit agreed to be a double agent.

Fogle was handed over to U.S. Embassy personnel before the Foreign Ministry released the statement ordering his expulsion. The Ministry statement stressed that the Russians were particularly offended by the fact that the alleged spy scheme, took place after Russia's intelligence service had cooperated in the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

A State Department spokesman confirmed that an officer had been briefly detained in Moscow, but declined any further comment.

Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Moscow.

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