An unidentified Russian woman who worked for the Secret Service as a liaison between the agency and Russia's law enforcement and intelligence agencies was having regular unauthorized meetings with members of Kremlin's Federal Security Service (FSB), according to the United Kingdom newspaper.
The woman had been working for the Secret Service for years before she came under suspicion in 2016 during a routine security sweep conducted by two investigators from the US Department of State's Regional Security Office (RSO), said report.
A senior USA official told CNN that the woman, who the official said had access to the Secret Service's email systems, was caught red-handed in a meeting with the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia's main security agency.
"We knew it was happening and it was just a process of playing it out and giving her specific information that we saw her give back to the FSB".
The Secret Service asserts that the woman did not have access to national security secrets, but did not deny that she was a potential mole.
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The agent is said to have had access to highly confidential material including the schedules of the president and the vice-president through the Secret Service intranet and email systems.
Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman, speaking to Russia's TASS news agency, also reiterated that foreign nationals employed by the US Secret Service can not have any access to the information pertaining to matters of national security.
The Regional Security Office reportedly alerted the secret service of its findings in January 2017.
Her dismissal came during tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomatic staffers by the USA and Russian Federation, a move that provided cover.
Butina is accused of infiltrating a pro-gun rights organization in the U.S.at the behest of a high-powered Russian official, as part of a mission to influence US foreign policy towards Russia.
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"We figure that all of them are talking to the FSB", the source said of any foreign nationals working for the embassy, but the suspect "was giving them way more information than she should have".
The Secret Service "recognizes that all Foreign Service Nationals (FSN) who provide services in furtherance of our mission, administrative or otherwise, can be subjected to foreign intelligence influence", the statement said.
The CIA has downplayed the role of the alleged spy, claiming that Russian nationals are hired by the embassy merely for the goal of "translation, interpretation, cultural guidance, liaison and administrative support".
Declining to comment, the State Department simply said the following.
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