reported by Russian (also in English)
and western media, late on Friday, May 18, 2013, the KGB (FSB) has officially
confirmed that it cautioned the CIA Moscow Station Chief, US Moscow Embassy Counsellor
Steven Hall (or Holl, Õîëë in Russian could mean both) against further attempts
to recruit officers of Russian special services.
"In October 2011, the FSB issued an
official warning to the CIA station chief in Moscow that if provocative
recruitment actions continued in relation to officers of Russian special
services, Russia's FSB would take "mirror" measures in relation to
CIA officers, said. In this statement, the FSB gave the surnames of concrete
Russian citizens whom CIA operatives had tried to approach, as well as
information about these CIA operatives. Director of US National Intelligence
James Clapper was notified of the situation as well", a KGB spokesman said
late Friday in an interview to the main Russian TV channel Pervy Kanal (see the video in Russian at this link).
The London-based Daily
Telegraph reports that Mr. Hall is still in Moscow as the CIA chief:
"A diplomat with the same name is listed as a Counsellor in the US Moscow
embassy in the autumn-winter 2012-13 edition of a directory of foreign
diplomatic, media and business offices in the city".
The paper adds that the disclosure of the name of Steven Hall as the CIA Moscow
Station Chief is a reaction of the KGB (FSB) on the situation over the April 15
Boston incident when both sides accuse each other of "dropping the ball",
i.e. holding responsibility for two small blasts during a sports event.
Another British newspaper, The
"Oleg Kalugin (a butcher from the KGB 5th Directorate responsible for
persecution of Soviet dissidents - KC), a former KGB general turned Kremlin
critic now living in the US, said: "This is a deliberate attempt to make
the situation worse than it is. It's an invitation to the US to do the same and
they probably will - and no one will gain) except for the public, and it's the
main thing - KC). As Hillary Clinton, the former [US] secretary of state, put
it just a few months ago: we are watching the process of re-Sovietisation of
Russia. I think this is precisely what has been happening."
Russian officials, including Putin, have accused the US of fomenting discontent
against him in Russia, as well as orchestrating the uprisings around the Middle
The Washington bureau of the Russian KGB news agency RIA News writes in a
report by its Washington correspondent Carl Schreck:
"Certainly throughout the Cold War, and even after that, there was a practice
of not naming the head of the [spy agencies] in the respective countries," said
Peter Earnest, who operated intelligence collection and covert operations in
Europe and the Middle East during a 35-year career with the CIA.
very situational, and the fact that you and I and the public don't know what
occasioned the takedown of Fogle means we don't know what the signal [from
Russia] was," Earnest, founding executive director of the International Spy
Museum in Washington, told RIA News. "That makes it doubly hard to know the
signal of this latest development is. It sort of deepens the mystery."
leak represents a serious breach in protocol, said Melvin Goodman, who served
as division chief and senior analyst at the CIA's Office of Soviet Affairs in
the 1970s and 1980s.
who spent 24 years as a CIA analyst specializing in Soviet affairs, said the
spy spat surprised him given public overtures from both countries in recent
weeks indicating they were interested in cooperating on the investigation of
last month's Boston Marathon bombings and bringing an end to the civil war in
things are usually done quietly," Goodman told RIA News on Friday, adding that
the release of the name is "unprecedented" in the history of US relations with
Russia and the Soviet Union.
of a CIA operative's name in such a fashion is typically a death knell for the
agent's career, Goodman added.
"He could stay operational clandestinely, but I don't see how they could send
him out under any cover," he said.
Russia's reaction was indeed precipitated by CIA operatives' aggressive
attempts to recruit Russian intelligence officers, Washington "may just decide
to let it go". "But without knowing what some of the operational details
are, I would hesitate to speculate on this," Goodman said. "This past week
suggests that something else is going on," he said.
Galeotti, an expert on Russian security services at New York University, called
the naming of Steven Hall as the station chief a "definite escalation" in the
wake of Fogle's brief detention and subsequent eviction from Russia, where he
served as a third secretary in the political section at the US embassy.
almost as if the Russians are inviting the Americans to respond, but as it is
they seem to have Washington off balance," Galeotti told RIA News. Without the
full picture of the circumstances surrounding Fogle's detention and the public
naming of the purported station chief, it is difficult to predict how
Washington might respond",
the US State Department nor the CIA responded to requests for comment Friday.
Meanwhile in Moscow, Russia's correspondent of The Guardian, Miriam Edler,
writes on her Twitter:
"Russia publicly IDs CIA station chief in Moscow. As the kids say, shit
just got real."
Her friend Ella Braigen, an American expat in Moscow, adds: "Is Iron
Curtain just around the corner?!"
Department of Monitoring