How valuable was the “mole” Smolenkov to the CIA, which told about Moscow’s intervention in the US election.
The name of the former government employee Oleg Smolenkov has become widely known in recent days – against the backdrop of a new espionage scandal. It was the American media that “declassified” it, despite the fact that this person left Russia back in 2017, and now he “unexpectedly” found himself in the USA in the quiet town of Stafford. The New York Times reported that the ex-official was “one of the most valuable CIA informants.” Smolenkov allegedly helped to investigate the case of interference in the elections and hacking the servers of the National Committee of the Democratic Party. His recruitment took place many years ago, while working at the Russian embassy in Washington, but American intelligence waited a while for the informant to gain access to the Kremlin.
Smolenkov’s value to the CIA raises some doubts, especially given official statements by Russian representatives. He was in the position of Assistant to the President of Russia for International Affairs, Yuri Ushakov, and, allegedly, was responsible for procurement, organized trips and carried out personal instructions from the leadership. In general, such an “errand boy”. And even when the Smolenkov family (he, his wife and three children) disappeared in early September 2017 in Montenegro, where they went on vacation, there was not much noise. A murder case was opened, but the investigation came to a standstill and they simply forgot about the disappeared official for a while.
How Smolenkov obtained “valuable information” on interference in the US election is unknown. However, being a confidant of the presidential aide for international affairs, and even having a class rank of a real state adviser of the 3rd class (corresponding to the military rank of major general), he had access to the high offices of the Kremlin. And if he didn’t have the opportunity to look into Putin’s table, then with Ushakov he could take some photographs. Again, the very fact of escaping with his family in the United States looks suspicious (American intelligence claims that it was a special operation), which means that there was still a reason. The last argument is a three-story mansion he acquired in America in June 2018 worth almost a million (925 thousand) dollars. The modest Kremlin employee definitely could not accumulate such funds, and it can be assumed that he received remunerations due to the agent for the work done. And then what was this “work”?
“The question is whether the former Kremlin official was as valuable as the Americans describe him, or if he is the same renegade, as Russians now say, is a matter of paramount importance,” suggests The New York Times. – His reputation is based on the question that lies not only in the center of Washington’s relations with Moscow, but also in American politics: how accurate was the conclusion of the US intelligence community, published in a declassified report in January 2017, according to which Putin personally “ordered” the campaign of influence in 2016, aimed at the US presidential election and “showed clear preference for President-elect Trump?”
The Americans believe that the informant, whoever Smolenkov was, played a crucial role in the case of the “hand of Moscow.” They no longer care what the agent from the Kremlin brought in the briefcase; the mere fact of his “evacuation” should confirm Putin’s “atrocities”. And although a year remains before the next US presidential election (they are scheduled for November 3, 2020), the hype around the “Russian spy” is already included in the election race. The United States has already held the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates, which, of course, criticized Donald Trump. It must be assumed that it does not rust with Smolenkov’s “valuable information”.
What is known about the agent Smolenkov himself? It is known that Oleg was born in 1969 in the city of Ivanovo and since the late 1990s worked in the apparatus of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the mid-2000s, he was appointed second secretary of the Russian embassy in Washington and dealt with financial and economic issues. It was in Washington that he was able to establish a trusting relationship with the then ambassador to the United States, Yuri Ushakov, whom he followed everywhere. In the government apparatus, Smolenkov served as chief adviser, and then referent. Following Ushakov, he transferred to the foreign policy department of the presidential administration.
After returning to Moscow, his wife Antonina also joined the government apparatus and worked for some time in managing the president’s affairs. It can be assumed that the wife was aware of her husband’s contacts with the CIA, since she decided to flee the country with him.
And if Oleg Smolenkov really for a long time passed secret information to the CIA, to which he had access, then he falls into the category of traitors. If you recall the words of Vladimir Putin during the scandal with the arrest in the USA in 2011 of our scouts, who spoke about the “werewolves” very specifically: “This is the result of betrayal, and traitors always end badly.” This is without any hint of a kind of “order” from Putin to eliminate the risen Skripal, which was alluded to in London. On the one hand, there is no statute of limitations for betrayal, and although the official practice of destroying defectors has long been canceled, former colleagues no, no, and they will carry out their “sentence”.
For example, a defector Sergei Tretyakov from the Foreign Intelligence Service, who was directly involved in the failure of the so-called “Anna Chapman group” in the United States, was eliminated very sophisticatedly in Florida in July 2010. In some strange way, the 53-year-old man choked on a roast beef at the exit of the restaurant. That is, he ate meat at the table, it is likely that he also washed it down with wine or whiskey, but he already choked mortally on the steps of the restaurant. Can digestion features, can spices. Nevertheless, the police and doctors recorded precisely the presence in his larynx of a piece of meat. What can I say – pure work, the mosquito of the nose will not taper.
Three years ago, they started talking about the death of another traitor Alexander Poteev, also known for his involvement in the failure of the “Chapman group”, which passed it 7 years ago. There was no official confirmation, but the fact remains – not only the media, but also the special services spoke about this. And here, as usual, there is no smoke without fire. There is no evidence of the traitor’s death, but professionals are sure that his end was a foregone conclusion from the moment when the defector crossed the Russian border.
In history, there are cases when Soviet spies-traitors Vladimir Nesterovich, Ignatius Poretsky, Reino Heikhanen, apparently, were eliminated abroad. But all this has to do with the work of the KGB and the Soviet period, when high treason was punishable by capital punishment and a fair sentence, one way or another, overtook the defectors. Here we can recall the execution of Leo Trotsky in 1940, who was liquidated abroad through an ice ax. The executor of the sentence, sanctioned, allegedly by Stalin himself, the recruited participant in the Spanish Civil War, Ramon Mercader, having served his sentence, was able to escape to the USSR, where he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
However, modern defectors have a better fate, most of them are still alive, many have died by age. And, say, Yuri Nosenko, an employee of the Second Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR, after whose escape in Geneva in 1964 USSR had to withdraw about 400 illegal intelligence officers, he successfully passed away in the United States in 2008. Hello to such famous traitors as Vladimir Rezun from the GRU (writer Viktor Suvorov, author of the books “Icebreaker”, “Aquarium”,) Oleg Gordievsky from the First Main Directorate of the KGB (now the Foreign Intelligence Service), sentenced to death in the USSR for extradition 31 scout. On this list are Oleg Kalugin, Anatoly Golitsyn, Vladimir Petrov, Stanislav Levchenko, the retribution for which did not follow.
It is unlikely that someone will try to punish Oleg Smolenkov. He lived in the USA for two years under his own name, bought a house and did not hide much from his neighbors. In Russia, he was not even convicted in absentia, nor was he charged with any charges. So the “bad end” from Putin does not threaten him.