Last night I noted that a top Russian spy who is the number two person in the FSB department which allegedly oversaw the US election hacking operation had been arrested and charged with treason. Was he a sacrificial lamb and olive branch to Trump? A way for Putin to claim that his spy services had perhaps gone rogue? Or was he suspected of being a source to US intelligence? People who fall from grace in Putin’s Russia are often dealt with with trumped up criminal prosecutions. But treason is a special charge.
Well, now we have reports that Sergei Mikhailov is suspected of being a US asset at the heart of Russian intelligence.
The report is from The Moscow Times, a respected English language publication. But the report appears to rely on a report in Novaya Gazeta.
From the Moscow Times …
A top cybersecurity specialist in Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was arrested on Wednesday reportedly on suspicion of leaking information to the U.S. intelligence community — a bombshell accusation that, if true, would mean Washington had a spy in the heart of Russia’s national defense infrastructure.
Here’s the additional detail …
According to the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the FSB believes Sergei Mikhailov tipped off U.S. officials to information about Vladimir Fomenko and his server rental company “King Servers,” which the American cybersecurity company ThreatConnect identified last September as “an information nexus” that was used by hackers suspected of working for Russian state security in cyberattacks.
The article goes on to say that four others have been arrested in connection to the treason case against Mikhailov. It is important to note that even if these are the charges, in a country like Russia, what you’re charged with isn’t just not necessarily true. It may not even be what the state and prosecutors think is true.
But this immediately poses the question: if Mikhailov was a US asset, how was he compromised? Did the information put out by US intelligence somehow lead to his exposure? Without putting too fine a point on it, a number of close advisors to President Trump are being scrutinized for ties to Russia. Some of them participated in the intelligence briefings the President receives.
Do we have a very big problem?