Feb. 1, 2018 (EIRNS)—Last week, the heads of Russia’s three intelligence services, the FSB, SVR, and GRU, were in Washington for meetings with their counterparts—CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats, and “other U.S. intelligence officials,” according to National Public Radio (NPR). A Moscow-based senior U.S. intelligence official was also called back to Washington to participate in the meetings, the Washington Post reported today.
Sergey Naryshkin, head of the Russian foreign intelligence service, SVR, and Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB, the successor organization to the KGB, met with Pompeo and Coats to discuss matters of mutual interest—counterterrorism, aviation security, and preventing foreign fighters from returning to both nations, among other things. There is no confirmation as to which meetings the GRU director participated in.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has gone ballistic over the fact that these meetings occurred at all, screaming in a Jan. 29 press conference, and then in a letter to Coats, that the meetings are “suspicious,” and demanding to know why individuals who are subject to sanctions were allowed to just “waltz through our front door,” referring to Naryshkin. The timing of these meetings, he raved, probably had something to do with President Trump’s decision not to impose new sanctions on Russia, per the CAATSA act.
In a letter to the Minority Leader dated today, Pompeo calmly, but sharply, put the hysterical Schumer in his place, referencing the latter’s suggestion that “there was something untoward in officials from Russian intelligence services meeting their U.S. counterparts.” On the contrary, Pompeo wrote,
“we periodically meet with our Russian counterparts for the same reason our predecessors did—to keep Americans safe. While Russia remains an adversary, we would put American lives at greater risk if we ignored opportunities to work with the Russian services in the fight against terrorism.”
He went on to say he was very proud of that counterterror cooperation,
“including CIA’s role with its Russian counterparts in the recent disruption of a terrorist plot targeting St. Petersburg, Russia—a plot that could have killed Americans....”
He also explained that when these meetings take place,
“you and the American people should rest assured that we cover very difficult subjects in which American and Russian interests do not align. Neither side is bashful about raising concerns relating to our intelligence relationships and the interests of our respective nations.”
Security cooperation between the U.S. and Russian intelligence agencies, Pompeo concluded,
“has occurred under multiple administrations. I am confident that you would support CIA continuing these engagements that are aimed at protecting the American people.”