ESPIONAGE SAGA

Russia Arrests Third ‘U.S. Spy’ in Cyber Treason Case

Russian media on Thursday reported the arrest of yet another security service officer accused of being a U.S. spy in a treason case thought to be tied to the U.S. hacking scandal. After news broke on Wednesday of the arrest of Sergei Mikhailov, the agency’s top cyber expert, two other FSB officers were reported under arrest for the same charge on Thursday – meaning either the U.S. had a ring of infiltrators deep inside Russian security services, or Russia has a trick up its sleeve. Mikhailov, who was reportedly dragged out with a sack over his head from a meeting with his FSB colleagues, has now been identified by pro-Kremlin media as a member of the famous hacking collective Anonymous International, known for targeting high-ranking Russian officials.

The group, known as Shaltai Boltai in Russian, has been accused of being a front for the CIA in the past after leaking compromising emails sent by Kremlin officials. On Thursday, Russia’s Rambler News Service identified another FSB employee accused of treason, Dmitry Dokuchayev, who was reportedly arrested in December. Friends said they had not heard from him since then. On Wednesday, Kaspersky Lab said that the head of its investigations unit was also arrested in December on charges of treason. The arrests coincide with the release of intelligence reports in the U.S. which concluded that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential campaign. The unclassified report released by intelligence chiefs in late December was widely panned as making a weak case, yet with the arrests of FSB cyber experts in Moscow, some are questioning if the U.S. was simply protecting its sources.