Russian spy chiefs met in Washington with Central Intelligence Agency director last week

01 February 2018, 12:44 | Andres Norman

Russia's Spy Chief Visited Washington Amid Publication of 'Kremlin List'

Sergei Naryshkin gestures as he arrives for a press statement at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Bucharest Romania Friday Nov. 27 2015

Pompeo recently said in a January 29 interview with the BBC that US and Russian spy agencies had cooperated, but he told the BBC that Russia is still considered an adversary.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently met with his Russian counterparts when they traveled to the United States, according to USA ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman.

Huntsman had told Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy Tuesday that Russian and USA intelligence officials had met, but did not specifically name Naryshkin.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman told CNN on Wednesday about the meeting.

But the presence of the two other chiefs - Aleksandr Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, and Lieutenant General Igor Korobov, chief of Russian General Staff's Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU - was not previously known.

"Of course, we consider joint work this year, during the FIFA World Cup finals", said Russia's ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov speaking on Russian TV channel Rossiya 1.

However, the meeting has also raised pointed questions on the left, with Democrats wondering how a sanctioned spy chief got into the US and amid ongoing frustrations over how President Donald Trump handled Russian Federation sanctions for its interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"Sergey Naryshkin was here [in the United States]".

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During an interview with state television on Tuesday, Ambassador Antonov said that contacts among Russian and USA intelligence services continued "even in the most hard of times". Did any White House or National Security Council meet with Naryshkin? At the time, Naryshkin was the chair of the Duma, Russia's parliament. We sanctioned the head of their foreign intelligence, and then the Trump administration invites him to waltz through our front door. But the measures taken late January 29 by the State and Treasury departments were met with disbelief by many observers, who expected asset freezes, travel bans, and other sanctions to be imposed.

News of the meeting is likely to stoke controversy about the Trump administration's relationship with Russian Federation. "Which US officials did he meet with?"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a frequent critic of Trump's treatment of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government, said the timing of the trip was suspicious.

"While we do not discuss the schedules of USA intelligence leaders, rest assured that any interaction with foreign intelligence agencies would have been conducted in accordance with USA law and in consultation with appropriate Departments and agencies", Office of the Director of National Intelligence spokesperson Timothy Barrett said in a statement to ABC News.

Some intelligence officers have said they see a disconnect between the administration's desire for rapprochement and public statements from intelligence leaders that Russian Federation will continue to try to disrupt the US democratic process. Pompeo had on Monday told the BBC he believes that Russian Federation will seek to interfere in November's mid-term elections. However, meetings between foreign intelligence chiefs, even from rival nations, are mostly kept secret but are not unusual, Reuters reports.

"I haven't seen a significant decrease in their activity", Pompeo told the BBC.

Trump's willingness to court Moscow also has anxious many intelligence officials, who say it has damaged operations.



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