Two Russian FSB officers recently arrested on treason charges helped US intelligence agents pinpoint Russian hacking during the presidential election and spied for the CIA for seven years, according to a story on the Russian Rosbalt news agency.
Sergei Mikhailov, deputy director FSB’s Centre for Information Security (see my previous post), and Dmitri Dokuchayev, said to be an ex-hacker named “Forb” who joined the FSB under threat of prosecution, were paid to pass secret data, Rosbalt reported.
The FSB officers relayed their secrets to Ruslan Stoyanov, a manager from the cybersecurity and anti-virus company Kaspersky Lab and an unnamed representative of another cybersecurity company. The information was then transferred to “acquaintances abroad who worked closely with foreign special service.”
“This is not a one-off story, this activity was carried out for a minimum of seven years and caused substantial harm to the interests of the Russian Federation,” the source told Rosbalt.
Rosbalt reportedly has good connections to Russian intelligence. Its editor in chief, Natalia Cherkesova, is the wife of Viktor Cherkesov, a former KGB operative who served under Vladimir Putin in the FSB. Sunday’s report in Rosbalt was picked up today by the reputable Times of London.
Stoyanov, Mikhailov, and Dokuchayev all face 20 year prison terms for treason.
The question of how this allegedly long-running spy operation was exposed remains unclear, and the timing of the arrests raises troubling questions given the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.
As noted in an earlier post, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence reported Jan. 6 that “further information has come to light since Election Day” that helped increase the U.S. intelligence community’s assessments of Russia’s motivations and goals in the election hacking.
One month later, Mikhailov was led out of an FSB with a bag over his head. Again we ask: Is there a mole in the White House?
Rosbalt also reported that in an unrelated case, Mikhailov also gave a representative of the foreign intelligence services “counterintelligence materials.”