Russia’s sanctioned spy chief recently visited the United States and reportedly met with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Russian state media reported Tuesday.
Sergey Naryshkin, director of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR, was spotted aboard a commercial Aeroflot flight to the United States, Russian state-owned news channel Rossiya-1 reported. The SVR is blamed by the U.S. government for a key role in the Kremlin’s interference with the 2016 election. A reporter for the network said Naryshkin landed in New York and met with the CIA director.
Representatives for the CIA and the office of the Director of National Intelligence declined comment to The Daily Beast about whether Pompeo or any other U.S. intelligence official recently met with with Naryshkin—who has been under U.S. sanctions for the past three years.
“While we do not discuss the schedules of U.S. intelligence leaders, rest assured that any interaction with foreign intelligence agencies would have been conducted in accordance with U.S. law and in consultation with appropriate Departments and agencies,” a CIA spokesman told The Daily Beast.
“Sergey Yevgenievich was here. He arrived. He had meetings with his colleagues here,” Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov told Rossiya-1. It is unclear when the meeting took place.
Antonov said the meeting was about possible areas of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia.
“I want to tell you that in the most difficult times, the most difficult times, contact between the special services continued. Politics is politics, and work is work. There are political slogans, and then there’s real work,” Antonov said, adding, “They of course discussed the question of joint fight against terrorism.