Alleged CIA Spy Nabbed in Russia Said to be Investigating Boston Marathon Bombing

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Ryan Fogle's U.S. Embassy pass (photo: FSB)

The American arrested and accused of being a spy by Russian authorities may have been seeking information on the Boston Marathon bombing.


Ryan C. Fogle, described by the Russian Security Service (FSB) as a Central Intelligence Agency official working undercover as a low-ranking third secretary in the Political Section of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, was reportedly seeking intelligence from a Russian security agent on the Northern Caucasus, from which Boston bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev hailed.


The FSB claimed they apprehended Fogle wearing a blonde wig and possessing other “espionage” materials, including a second wig, numerous pairs of dark sunglasses, a knife, compass, lighter, Moscow atlas, and stacks of cash.


Fogle also had in his possession a one-page letter that he had planned to give to the potential Russian recruit. Addressed to “Dear friend,” the letter spelled out an offer of

$100,000 to partake in an initial interview, with a promise of $1 million per year plus bonuses for “long-term cooperation.” It also included detailed instructions about how the recruit should covertly respond and communicate with Fogle. The letter was signed “Your friends.”


After being interrogated, Fogle was delivered back to the American embassy and ordered to leave the country.


Russian security services had already offered to cooperate with the U.S. in its investigation of the Boston bombers, and last month an American delegation traveled to Dagestan to further that investigation in conjunction with Russian authorities.


Former head of the FSB Nikolai Kovalyov said that Russian intelligence considered the arrest of Fogle a coup, as it’s not often that foreign spies are caught red-handed, particularly “with such attributes as a wig.”


 Kovalyov did not, however, think the episode would harm relations between Washington and Moscow. “The Americans do nothing other secret services—including ours—would not do,” he told the Interfax news agency.


To some observers, there may be more to the story than meets the eye because so much of it strains credulity—such as the unlikely use of a cheap-looking disguise, a recruitment letter written in such a potentially compromising way, and the fact that Russian authorities and media—already on the scene of the arrest—moved with lightning speed to plaster photos, video and information across the media landscape.

-Danny Biederman, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

‘Wigged CIA spy’ Ryan C. Fogle Was Reportedly Seeking Information on Boston Bombings (Agence France-Presse)

Cloak, Dagger and a Blond Wig? FSB Says CIA Agent Nabbed in Moscow (RT)

From Russia, With Wig: American Spy Suspect Is Ejected (by David M. Herszenhorn and Ellen Barry, New York Times)

5 Signs There’s Something Fishy about the Alleged CIA Spy Arrested in Moscow (by Max Fisher, Washington Post)

Judge Rejects Diplomatic Immunity for CIA Agent Accused in Italian Kidnapping Case (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

CIA Agents Get to Moonlight in the Corporate World, Working on “Deception Detection” (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment