Russia has started to perform a anti-spy raid on their inside operatives in order to weed out those that have been passing secrets on to United States intelligence. There are currently four men being charged with treason – a cybersecurity expert, two executive secret service agents, and a fourth man. They will be facing lengthy sentences for “treason in favor of the United States” should they be found guilty.
This seems to have resulted from United States officials pointing the finger at Russia for steering the presidential election in their desired direction. However, the United States has never stated that they received this information from Russian intelligence, so there is no certainty if this is actually what has happened. It is suspected by several United States experts that this is likely the cause of how United States intelligence received this information.
The Russian Interfax news agency claims that these officials passed on confidential Russian information to the Central Intelligence Agency. However, there are other media outlets that have instead reported that these people were members of a “hacking ring” that had been targeting Russian officials in order to steal information.
Two government officials were arrested back in December immediately after the United States election. Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchayev are now facing charges of treason. They were once part of FSB, which is Russia’s top security agency.
In Russia, treason is a high offense that can put a person behind bars for 12 to 20 years depending on the severity of the crime. This is listed under Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code, which lists out punishments for various offenses under Russian law.
Paul Rosenzweif, who was once the Department of Homeland Security’s deputy assistant secretary, believes that due to the strain between the United States and Russia there would even be a chance that these men get executed.