US ambassador summoned by Russian foreign ministry

Michael McFaul entered the ministry

The U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul leaves Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. McFaul has been summoned by the Russian foreign ministry in connection with an alleged spy detention in Moscow. He entered the ministry's building in central Moscow Wednesday morning and left half an hour later without saying a word to journalists waiting outside the compound. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

MOSCOW (AP) — The U.S. Ambassador to Russia was summoned by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday over Moscow's claim it caught a U.S. diplomat disguised in a blond wig trying to recruit a counterintelligence officer for the CIA.

Michael McFaul entered the ministry's building in central Moscow in the morning and left half an hour later without saying a word to journalists waiting outside the compound.

Russian security officials reported on Tuesday that they briefly detained Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy, who was carrying special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money. Fogle was later handed over to U.S. Embassy officials.

McFaul has had a tough run in Moscow since he took office in January 2012. He provoked the ire of Russian officials when one of his first acts was to invite a group of opposition activists and rights advocates to the embassy. Later, McFaul alleged that Russia had offered money to the leader of Kyrgyzstan for removing a U.S. base from its soil.

Fogle's detention appeared to be the first case of an American diplomat publicly accused of spying in about a decade.

The State Department would only confirm that Fogle worked as an embassy employee, but wouldn't give any details about his employment record or responsibilities in Russia. The CIA declined comment.

The Russian foreign ministry promptly declared Fogle persona non grata and ordered him to leave Russia immediately. He has diplomatic immunity, which protects him from arrest.

Despite the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still maintain active espionage operations against each other. Last year, several Russians were convicted in separate cases of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.

Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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