JASON RYAN, PIERRE THOMAS and BRIAN ROSS
April 3, 2012
A female Russian agent got “close enough” to a sitting U.S. cabinet member that the FBI felt they had to swoop in and arrest the lot — but it wasn’t the famous femme fatale Anna Chapman, federal officials said today.
Chapman, the seductive 20-something SoHo spy, was named by a British newspaper Monday as the reason the FBI decided to finally round up the Russian ring, which had long been under surveillance, in 2010. The paper cited an interview conducted by the British broadcasting network the BBC with the FBI’s counter-intelligence head Frank Figliuzzi.
… But Figliuzzi never named the Russian agent in question, even if the BBC ran images of Chapman — as well as shots of a look-a-like – during the interview, and now the FBI says he wasn’t talking about her at all. Instead, Justice Department officials told ABC News Figliuzzi was referring to another of the arrested spies, Cynthia Murphy.
According to court documents relating to the spies’ arrest, Murphy had been in contact with a fundraiser and “personal friend” of Hillary Clinton, who took the office of Secretary of State in January 2009. The fundraiser, Alan Patricof, said in a statement in 2010 had retained Murphy’s financial services firm more than two years before, had met with her a few times and spoke with her on the phone frequently. Patricof said they “never” spoke about politics, the government or world affairs.