On Monday, the US television channel CNN reported that in 2017, “the most valuable informant of the American special services in the government of the Russian Federation” was urgently evacuated from Russia. The name of the informant was not disclosed, however, information appeared in Russian Telegram channels that they could be talking about Oleg Smolenkov, an employee of the presidential administration, who left for vacation in Montenegro with his family in June 2017 and disappeared without a trace there. Kommersant managed to find data on where Oleg Smolenkov may now be.
On September 9, CNN, citing several sources in intelligence, government agencies and the US Congress, reported that after the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the White House two years ago, US intelligence agencies urgently removed from Moscow "one of its most senior informants in the Russian government" .
Recall that the head of Russian diplomacy was received by US President Donald Trump on May 10, 2017. The meeting caused an ambiguous response in the American media: opponents of Donald Trump suspected him of transmitting secret information about the activities of the Islamic State (a terrorist group banned in the Russian Federation) to Syria’s Russian interlocutors.
The information transmitted by the White House owner was allegedly obtained by Israeli intelligence and was kept secret even from the closest US allies in NATO.
Sergei Lavrov, who also met with then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, called his American interlocutors "people of business" who "want to build pragmatic relationships and solve problems."
According to CNN, due to fears that the US president would share some other secrets with Russia, the most “valuable” American informant was exported from Moscow, “who had no equal,” when it came to data on the Kremlin’s internal kitchen and plans Russian president.
A senior source in the Russian Foreign Ministry responded to Kommersant’s request to comment on CNN news: “It’s hard to comment on the part related to the“ very valuable agent ”. Let the CIA confirm or deny it. But as for the meeting between Lavrov and Trump, CNN has not yet come up with such nonsense. Pure paranoia. ”
Some argue that he was not engaged in substantive work, but rather technical: procurement, travel arrangements, and personal instructions from superiors. “I don’t think he could have told the Americans anything but rumors,” says one of Kommersant’s sources.
Others point out that Oleg Smolenkov worked at the Russian Embassy in Washington at a time when Yuri Ushakov, the current assistant to the Russian president for international affairs, was the ambassador. According to several Kommersant sources, Oleg Smolenkov continued to work with Yuri Ushakov after he and his return to Moscow and enjoyed the trust of a high-ranking official with direct access to Vladimir Putin. “This is serious,” one official said.
Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov:
“Indeed, Smolenkov worked in the presidential administration, but several years ago he was dismissed by internal order; his position did not belong to the category of senior officials, the so-called designated posts. All these discussions of the American media about who urgently exported whom, from whom they saved, and so on - this, you know, is such a genre, rather, pulp fiction, "pulp fiction", so let's leave it up to them "
Source: “Kommersant FM”
Sources of Kommersant say that before leaving in 2017, Oleg Smolenkov worked at the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Presidential Administration. A Kommersant source in US government agencies confirmed that in the case of the CNN report, it was Oleg Smolenkov that was specifically meant.