More details have emerged of an alleged high-level spy the US reportedly extracted from Russia amid fears his cover was about to be blown.
The US reports said that the agent had worked for US intelligence for more than a decade and reached a senior level with access to Putin himself.
According to CNN’s sources, the spy had access to Putin and could even provide images of documents on the Russian leader’s desk. They further added that the CIA had feared President Trump’s “mishandling” of intelligence could put the spy at risk.
The New York Times and Washington Post confirmed a CNN report that a US agent inside the Kremlin,the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation, had been spirited out to the US after concerns about his safety, but they did not name the spy.
The CIA said CNN’s reporting of the extraction was “misguided” and “simply false”. Later US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the report as “materially inaccurate”.
But Russian media named him as Oleg Smolenkov, who worked for a key aide to President Vladimir Putin.
Mr Smolenkov was not senior, had been fired years ago and the extraction reports were fiction, the Kremlin said.
Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, added that no state secrets had been divulged at the White House meeting with Mr Trump.