US extracted top spy from inside Russia in 2017

US pulled spy from Russia due to safety concerns under Trump: report

US pulled spy from Russia due to safety concerns under Trump: report

The source was considered the highest level source for the USA inside the Kremlin, high up in the national security infrastructure, according to the source familiar with the matter and a former senior intelligence official.

The CIA reportedly first tried to extract the mole soon after a now-infamous meeting between President Trump, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, at which Mr Trump was said to have shared classified operational details which could have exposed a US confidential source. The CIA declined to comment.

"The disclosure to the Russians by the President, though not about the Russian spy specifically, prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure, according to the source directly involved in the matter", CNN Reporter Jim Sciutto wrote.

The unnamed individual was key in providing information that led United States intelligence to conclude Putin directly orchestrated Russian interference in favor of Trump and against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, the Times said.

In January 2017, the Obama administration published a detailed assessment that unambiguously laid the blame on the Kremlin, concluding that "Putin ordered an influence campaign" and that Russia's goal was to undermine faith in the USA democratic process and harm Clinton's chances at winning.

If you aren't familiar with the word "exfiltration" that's to be expected: It's the rare removal of an intelligence asset who is thought to be in imminent danger-and CNN reports one such exfiltration allegedly happened in 2017 in Russian Federation.

"That's a pretty remarkable intelligence community product - much more specific than what you normally see", one USA official said.

"It's quite likely", the official continued, "that the USA intelligence community would already be taking a hard look at extracting any US assets who would have been subject to increased levels of scrutiny" following the assessment's publication. Part of it relied on communications intercepts and human intelligence, the official said.

The former spy is now living in the Washington, DC, area under protection from the U.S. government, according to NBC. Sources who worked with the White House, the intelligence community, and Congress told CNN that there was a particular worry that the Trump administration would mishandle classified information pertaining to the source. In 2006, Russian operatives killed former intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko in London by placing radioactive material in his tea, according to a British investigation.

News reporters in the USA noticed details about potential sources in the information and sent inquiries to the administration. However, the SFB allegedly eventually found out that Smolenkov and his family are alive and moved to another country.

The current location of the Russian asset is not known.