CIA reportedly removed top spy from Russia over fear of retaliation

The spy may have had access to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s papers

Two years ago, the US removed a spy from Russia who had access to the highest levels of the Kremlin over concerns for his safety — and that President Donald Trump might endanger him further.

In a stunning Monday morning report, CNN’s Jim Sciutto detailed how US intelligence officials were so worried that Trump might accidentally expose the covert asset’s identity that they launched a secret mission to extract him from Russia in 2017.

But subsequent pieces from the New York TimesWashington Post, and NBC News, among others, have added more details and offered entirely different reasons for the spy’s extraction.

The exfiltration took place in 2017, and this person, who sent secrets to Washington for decades and later on had access to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s papers, now lives in the greater Washington, DC area.

Put together, it seems that overall concerns for the asset’s safety drove the effort to get the person out of Russia. It’s still unclear how much Trump’s own Moscow-friendly conduct contributed to the urgency.

But what’s known is this: the US, which considers Russia a top adversary, now has less information on the inner workings of Putin’s regime and how Moscow could threaten America.

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