The CIA extracted a longtime Kremlin asset from Russia in 2017 because of concerns that media reports would put him at risk, according to a New York Times report.
The story undercuts a key aspect of a report that CNN published earlier Monday about the CIA operation.
CNN’s Jim Sciutto reported that the CIA extracted the asset due in part to concerns about President Donald Trump’s handling of classified information. Sciutto, who served in the Obama administration, reported that the Russian source was removed soon after Trump met with Russian government officials in the Oval Office in May 2017. U.S. officials became concerned after that meeting that Trump and some in his administration might somehow reveal details about intelligence operations.
But according to The Times, the CIA offered to extract the asset in 2016, well before Trump took office.
The mole rejected the initial offer for exfiltration, but ultimately agreed to leave Russia in 2017, after the CIA raised concerns about increased media scrutiny of the sources the U.S. intelligence community used to determine that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
Read the entire article