Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Russian Kommersant newspaper reported Tuesday that Oleg Smolenkov, whom it described as a "missing" employee of the Russian presidential administration, was spotted in the United States.

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It is highly unusual for a country to name a possible turncoat. It's even more unusual for a suspected spy and defector to be living abroad using his own name. Public records show two addresses for an Oleg Smolenkov. One is a six-bedroom house on three acres in Stafford, Va., and the other is the Russian Embassy in Northwest Washington.

He worked for Russia's ambassador to the United States, Yuri Ushakov, who served as Russia's envoy to the United States from 1999 to 2008. Back in Moscow, Smolenkov was an aide to Ushakov, who has been at Putin's side for years. The former ambassador served as Putin's foreign policy adviser and when Putin became prime minister in 2008 and stayed with him when Putin became president in 2012, according to published reports.

"He's as close to Putin as you can get with respect to foreign policy matters and especially the United States," said Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow who knew Ushakov well. "He was ambassador for 10 years in Washington. So he's highly regarded as their country's expert on America," and is in every meeting Putin has with a head of state, McFaul said.

It is not clear that Smolenkov is the source who provided the United States with details on Russia's election interference. But he was almost certainly a valuable CIA asset, according to current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.

The CIA declined to comment.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-09-11 09:07 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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Drudge Retort