“Sergey Naryshkin was here [in the United States]. He held consultations with his counterparts. Joint struggle against terrorism was discussed. We maintained contact in 2014 during the Sochi Olympics. Of course, we consider joint work this year, during the FIFA World Cup finals.”
Anatoly Antonov — Russian ambassador in Washington
“We periodically meet with our Russian intelligence counterparts for the same reason our predecessors did — to keep Americans safe. (…)
When those meetings take place, you and the American people should rest assured that we cover very difficult subjects in which American and Russian interests do not align.
Neither side is bashful about raising concerns. We vigorously defend America in these encounters and pull no punches — we never will.”
CIA Director Mike Pompeo — Letter to Senator Charles E. Schumer (February 1 2018)
The director of Russia’s foreign intelligence SVR, Sergey Naryshkin, and the director of the FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, have visited the United States last week for consultations with their US counterparts to discuss counter-terrorism issues.
Lieutenant-General Igor Valentinovich Korobov — the head of Russia’s military intelligence better known as the GRU — also came to Washington.
A senior U.S. intelligence official based in Moscow was called back to Washington for the meeting.
The joint visit represented an exceptionally high-level Russian intelligence presence in Washington. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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The Russian ambassador pointed out that joint work by Russian and US special services “is not visible to the readers and viewers,” but it will continue further on.
“Contacts between special services continued even at the most difficult times. Politics will be politics, but everyday work will be everyday work. There are political slogans, but there is also some real work to do,” Antonov added.
The visit of a Russian top spy — sanctioned by a US law — is of course controversial and criticized by US democrats. At the time of the 2014 Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, Sergey Naryshkin was the chair of the Duma (Russia’s parliament).
Although it was not reported by the NYT and other US media, Lieutenant-General Igor Valentinovich Korobov also visited the US. General Korobov was promoted to head of GRU following the suspicious death of Igor Sergun in 2016.
Korobov is one of the individuals sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury for “malicious cyber-enabled activities” threatening the national security of the United States.
On 29 December 2016, General Korobov — as well as three of his deputies — has been added to OFAC’s SDN List. The US administration considers him to be responsible for tampering, altering, or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.
On Monday (January 29 2018), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters:
“The Trump administration must immediately come clean and answer questions. Which U.S. officials did he meet with? Did any White House or National Security Council meet with Naryshkin? What did they discuss? Surely he didn’t come alone.”
“We sanction the head of their foreign intelligence, and then the Trump administration invites him to waltz through our front door.”
The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on Pompeo’s schedule.
Jon Huntsman — US ambassador to Russia — confirmed [Interview with Echo Moscow radio station on Tuesday (January 30 2018)] that Pompeo met with “senior-most” Russian intelligence officials last week. Huntsman did not name Naryshkin specifically.
“Just in the last week, [Pompeo] had probably the most important meetings on counter terrorism that we’ve had in a very, very long time at the senior-most levels. Even as we’re, you know, receiving barbs coming into the embassy and the relationship, we’re actually underneath engaged in substantive work that, I think, is saving lives and bringing stability to places [like the Middle East, Korea, and potentially Ukraine].”
The Director of National Intelligence’s office denied the office has broken any laws or violated sanctions.
“While we do not discuss the schedules of U.S. intelligence leaders, rest assured that any interaction with foreign intelligence agencies would have been conducted in accordance with U.S. law and in consultation with appropriate Departments and agencies,” Office of the Director of National Intelligence spokesperson Timothy Barrett said in a statement.
On Thursday (February 1 2018), CIA Director Mike Pompeo replied to Senator Schumer in a letter:
“While Russia remains an adversary, we would put American lives at greater risk if we ignored opportunities to work with the Russian services in the fight against terrorism. In those meetings, we cover very difficult subjects in which American and Russian interests do not align [and U.S. officials] pull no punches.”
“While Russia remains an adversary, we would put American lives at greater risk if we ignored opportunities to work with the Russian services in the fight against terrorism.”
BREAKING: Top Russian Spy Chief Meets With CIA Director in Washington D.C. [Russian with English subtitles]
Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin
Sergey Naryshkin, became the new chief of the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) on 5 October 2016.
He was offered the position on 22 September 2016 during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sergey Naryshkin thus succeeded to Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov.
Russia Intelligence Chiefs Visit Washington to Meet American Spooks