Questions of KGB ties for activist

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A woman who traveled to the U.S. as an independent activist is at the center of a high-stakes campaign between Russia and its neighbor, Georgia.

Georgia says she's a spy. The woman (Lira Tskhovrebova) says she is the victim of a smear campaign. But U.S. officials have become wary of her -- questioning who paid for her Washington tour. She challenges U.S. support for Georgia.

Georgia and Russia are eager to blame the other for the August war over the disputed region of South Ossestia, and to influence the incoming administration's policy.

Georgian intelligence provided The Associated Press with secret tapes of the woman with a man the Georgians say helps lead the South-Ossetian security agency still known as the KGB.

The woman says she didn't know she was under surveillance.

The KGB man appeared interested in her frequent contact with the West.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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