Thursday, 17 October, 2019

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

Sergei Naryshkin — the speaker of the Russian Duma — on a visit to Finland Sergei Naryshkin — the speaker of the Russian Duma — on a visit to Finland
Patty Aguilar | 31 January, 2018, 21:45

A Russian Embassy tweet disclosed Naryshkin's visit. "The administration instead released a list of more than 200 Russian officials, politicians and 'oligarchs, ' defined as people with a net worth of more than $1 billion - who it said could be penalized".

Two top Russian spy chiefs traveled to Washington last week to discuss counterterrorism issues with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but the unusual visit also raised concerns among some USA officials that Moscow could interpret the encounter as a sign the Trump administration is willing to move beyond the issue of election interference, current and former US intelligence officials said.

It cited a state-run ITAR-Tass news report that quoted Anatoly Antonov - Russia's ambassador to Washington - as telling Rossiya-1 television that Naryshkin and his usa counterparts discussed the "joint struggle against terrorism".

The Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment. Last May, the president revealed highly classified intelligence to Russia's foreign minister and ambassador in a meeting at the White House, according to current and former intelligence officials, who said Trump jeopardized a crucial source of intelligence about plans for terrorist attacks by the Islamic State. "The Trump administration must immediately come clean and answer questions".

Schumer wants to know whether sanctions were discussed, whether Naryshkin also met with White House or national security officials and whether other sanctioned Russian officials were along on the trip.

Sergei Naryshkin - the speaker of the Russian Duma - on a visit to Finland, April 3, 2013.

"Which other sanctioned Russian intelligence agency figures has the Trump administration let into our country and, most importantly, is his visit why the Trump administration made a decision to forgo sanctions?"

The key question, Schumer told reporters, is whether Naryshkin's visit accounted for the administration's decision on Monday not to slap new sanctions on Russian Federation under a law passed previous year to punish Moscow's purported election meddling.

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A January 2017 USA intelligence report concluded that Russian Federation conducted an influence campaign of hacking and other measures aimed at swinging the 2016 presidential vote to Trump over Hillary Clinton - his Democratic challenger.

"This is a serious national security issue", Schumer told reporters.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with top Russian intelligence officers days before insinuating that Moscow was likely to interfere in the upcoming USA midterm elections. The CIA director promised that the USA would retaliate "in a way that is sufficiently robust" should Russian Federation interfere in this year's upcoming midterm elections.

Russian Federation denies it meddled and Trump dismissed the allegations of collusion as a political witch hunt.

Trump's willingness to court Moscow also has anxious many intelligence officials, who say it has damaged operations. Naryshkin was sanctioned in 2014 in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

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

Meetings between foreign intelligence chiefs, even from rival nations, are mostly kept secret but are not unusual.

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