American spy-catchers uncovered a suspected Russian mole that had been working in the US embassy in Moscow for over 10 years, according to the British newspaper The Guardian, citing an anonymous source close to the matter.
The woman was quietly dismissed past year as the U.S. Secret Service sought to avoid public embarrassment on the matter, the Guardian reported, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to order 750 U.S. diplomatic staff out of Russia served to create a smokescreen for her dismissal.
The woman did not come on the radar of the US Department of State's Regional Security Office (RSO) until 2016, the year of the US presidential elections that spawned a wide-ranging hunt for "Russian interference" by the media and intelligence circles amid claims Moscow attempted to "sow discord" in the American society and sway the vote in favor of Donald Trump.
The woman was reportedly dismissed from her job last summer over the allegations of her ties to the Russian intelligence, according to the Guardian citing an unnamed USA intelligence source.
The woman had access to the Secret Service's intranet and email systems, the reports said, giving her a window into potentially sensitive data including the schedules of the USA president and vice president. Now the Secret Service is being accused of trying to cover up this incident rather than making an honest attempt at solving the problem.
'At no time, in any US Secret Service office, have FSNs been provided or placed in a position to obtain national security information'.
The source also said that this suspected spy had access to "the most damaging database, which is the U.S. Secret Service official mail system...."
Other embassy employees reportedly emailed the woman at her non-work account, breaking protocol and potentially worsening the problem.
In a later statement, the Secret Service said: "Reports of the timing of the individual's termination in question and the closing of the Secret Service Resident Office in Moscow correlate in any way are false".
Her dismissal came shortly before the Kremlin demanded the expulsion of more than 750 US personnel from its diplomatic mission, which is believed to have provided cover for her removal, according to the Guardian.
"This is of particular emphasis in Russian Federation", the agency added.
A State Department spokesman would "not comment on allegations related to intelligence or personnel matters".
A Russian police officer patrolling a street in front of the United States embassy in Moscow.
The Secret Service went on to say that part of the duties of the FSN position in Moscow are "to assist our attaches and agency by engaging the Russian government, including the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian Ministry of the Interior (MVD), and the Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) in furtherance of Secret Service interests".