In the wake of former Russian spy Sergei Skirpal’s poisoning in the U.K., American intelligence officials have performed a “wide-reaching review of every former Russian informant now in the United States” as part of an effort to “reassess the danger” that these ex-spies face. The New York Times reports that officials became concerned when a suspected Russian hitman approached the Florida home of a former U.S. spy and his family. At least one other former intelligence asset on U.S. soil had been tracked down by Russians, and both were subsequently resettled in new locations. As part of their review of the former Russian informants, counterintelligence officials have “examined security measures to protect the former spies and searched for potential liabilities,” along with analyzing what they have been sharing on social media and with relatives. The C.I.A.’s resettlement center reportedly has 100 agency assets at any given time. The newspaper also reports that giving new identities to former intelligence assets has been more difficult in the digital age, since the informants can still keep in touch with their families and communications are “vulnerable to eavesdropping by Russian intelligence officers.” Other former spies have returned to Russia after growing homesick or for a romantic relationship, only to be detained by Russian authorities upon arrival.
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