To Catch a Fogle


The Putin regime seems to have chosen to publicly expose Ryan Fogle not simply as a “tit-for-tat” for the embarrasing release of footage by the FBI of the meetings of “illegals” detained in the U.S. (2010) with Russian diplomats, but to gesture toward domestic audiences and to humiliate the U.S. in order to weaken its position in mutual negotiations, knowing that Washington may not be in the position to retaliate.For the EU, the episode is a reminder that even in the age of cyber threats the conventional spy war is far from over.

The scene was reminiscent of the Cold War, and the script – for indeed there was a script – could have come straight from one of John Le Carré’s novels. Only now, the part of the poor Jim Pridaux, lured into a trap in the woods of Communist Czechoslovakia where he had been led to believe he would learn the identity of the MI6 “mole” from a defecting general in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), was assumed by Ryan Fogle, a U.S. diplomat at the Moscow embassy presumably on the CIA payroll.

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