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'US agent' in Russia sought Boston info

15 May 2013, 15:41

Moscow - An alleged American CIA agent caught red-handed by Russia while wearing a blonde wig was likely interested in obtaining information about the Boston bombing suspects whose origins were in the Russian Caucasus, a report said on Monday.

The Kommersant daily said it was probable that the suspected agent Ryan Fogle was looking for information on the Tsarnaev brothers who are alleged to have carried out the marathon bombings.

It linked the agent's capture, which threatens to further stress ties between Washington and Moscow, to a trip that a US delegation made to Dagestan in April in co-ordination with the Russian authorities to investigate the blasts.

Suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev travelled to the region of Dagestan in 2012 and US authorities are eager to see if he built up contacts there with the local Islamist underground.

"It is likely that during the trip in April the US side obtained the phone numbers of [Russian] Federal Security Service [FSB] agents," said Kommersant, which is known for its contacts in the security service and foreign ministry.

Unusually high payment

"Clearly, they then decided to use it to have personal contacts with anti-terror agents, given that the exchange of information in the form of question and answers between special services is not always quick and smooth," it said.

The 15 April bombings at the finish line of the Boston marathon killed three people and injured more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during the search for the bombers but his younger brother Dzhokhar has now been charged over the bombings.

The FSB has already announced that Fogle was apprehended while seeking to recruit a Russian security service agent while looking for information on the Northern Caucasus.

Kommersant noted that the payment allegedly promised - an advance of $100 000 rising up to $1m - was unusually high.

"The CIA needed the [Russian] anti-terror agent after the terror attack in the Boston marathon," it said.



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