April 3, 2012

The 2010 apprehension of Russian spy Anna Chapman by American authorities came as a surprise to many. Now new details emerging suggest that the undercover agent was on the move to bed a high-ranking Obama official.

Insiders now attest that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation acted as quickly as they did in apprehending Russian national Anna Chapman in 2010 because the spy was thought to be attempting to sleep with a member of US President Barack Obama’s cabinet. According to a new interview with the BBC, the assistant FBI director for counterintelligence, C. Frank Figliuzzi, claims the agency believed that closeness between Chapman and an unnamed cabinet official prompted authorities to swoop in before the spy could penetrate the president’s inside circle and come into contact with classified information.

“They were getting close enough to a sitting US cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue,” Figliuzzi says, reports the Independent. The FBI official is hesitant to extrapolate as to how close that relationship really got, but comments that Chapman got “closer and closer to higher and higher ranking leadership… she got close enough to disturb us.”

Chapman was apprehended by authorities in June 2010 and quickly flown overseas where, along with nine other Russian agents, she was swapped for prisoners accused of spying for western intelligence only 12 days after the entire ring was believed to be revealed. The exact operation of the bust has been only briefly detailed by American authorities, and Filiuzzi’s comments are the first that suggest that the US acted as quickly as they did before any damage could be done.

Of the few from Russia to go on the record about the spy ring was Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who down played the operation to CNN’s Larry King after the incident occurred. Speaking to the host in 2010, Putin insisted, “As I said it before, I can repeat it again, with activities, they didn’t cause any harm to the interests of the United States of America.” The Russian president-elect added that Chapman and others were indeed engaged in clandestine activities, but “the main purpose of which is to be actively involved during the crisis times and when the diplomatic ties are suspended, when other means of intelligence service are not efficient or sometimes are not possible.”

Last October, Filluzzi told The Washington Times that the FBI had tightened in on Chapman and other Russian agents after concerns came up that the foreigners were “getting very close to their objective,” but only in his latest sit-down does the Independent suggest that an intimate relationship could have been in the works.

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