The topic of the week was definitely another large-scale espionage scandal that erupted between the United States and the Russian Federation, namely, the exposure of a high-ranking "mole", a former staffer with Vladimir Putin's administration Oleg Smolenkov, who has long provided intelligence (he had been presumably recruited back in 2000) the CIA. The CIA exfiltrated their asset from Russia to the U.S. in 2017, but the first report about the secret mission came from CNN, citing its sources, just a few days ago .
Given the scale of the CIA's penetration into the cradle of the Russian President and the status of the handled asset (he was a class 3 state adviser ), the level of scandal is unbelievable, but one interesting point slipped from almost everyone's focus.
Indeed, the CIA recruited a man who, through his immediate superior Yuri Ushakov with access to Russia's man No.1, could be aware of even those issues that were outside his rank. Indeed, Oleg Smolenkov for years had been leaking important information overseas and calmly emigrated – with U.S. support but without much fuss.
Also, (what an amazing coincidence), Oleg Smolenkov was engaged in a wider effort of serving the CIA on a silver platter the leaks of GRU special operations. It was precisely Smolenkov who exposed 12 GRU operatives who played their part in Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.
Let me recall that in 2018 (after Smolenkov fled to the U.S.), GRU officers Viktor Netiksho, Boris Antonov, Dmitry Badin, Ivan Ermakov, Alexey Lukashev, Sergey Morgachev, Nikolai Kozachek, Pavel Yershov, Artem Malyshev, Aleksandr Osadchuk, Aleksei Potemkin, and Anatoly Kovalev were charged with conspiracy to penetrate DNC computer networks and steal documents, usernames and passwords of Hillary Clinton's campaign team, including those of campaign chairman John Podesta.
In turn, the FSB, which deals with the security and control of this kind of contacts between high-ranking officials, almost completely missed out on Smolenkov’s long-standing interaction with the CIA. The FSB also failed to prevent the esfiltration of the valuable asset to the U.S.
So the question arises, how is this possible at all? For almost 20 years, a mole siphoning data to the CIA, who seems to not have been of any interest to the FSB, at the end of its undercover career simply leaves for the "recruiting country", without any obstacles, right?
And, perhaps, this scandal, whose depth is seen both in the Kremlin, the FSB, and the GRU, will have a much greater effect on the confrontation of Kremlin Towers than did all the previous episodes.