Russia on Wednesday condemned as lies and slander suggestions a suspected Central Intelligence Agency mole in President Vladimir Putin's administration had handed over information to the United States about alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential elections.
Russia's Foreign Ministry says that Moscow has asked the global police agency Interpol for help in locating a former Kremlin official who is alleged to have been a CIA informant and who disappeared in 2017. CNN said on Tuesday the informant had helped show that Putin had directed Russian interference into the election to favor Trump.
The Kremlin has said that Smolenkov was not a high-level official when he later transferred to the presidential administration after returning to Russian Federation and did not have access to President Vladimir Putin.
The alleged informant was whisked out of Russian Federation in 2017 amid fears he was at risk of exposure.
Zakharova said Russian Federation had opened a criminal case after their disappearance and had now learned via the media that Smolenkov and his family were in the United States. She said that this is due to the election campaign in the United States. This was stated by the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.
She did not clarify when Moscow had sent the note.
Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House in May 2017
Instead of a superspy who saw Mr. Putin regularly and became "one of the C.I.A.'s most valuable assets", he is now being presented by Russian officials, state-controlled news outlets and pro-Kremlin newspapers as a boozy nobody with no access to Kremlin secrets. This information was refuted by Lavrov, who said no secrets were let out at the meeting with Trump and former USA top diplomat Rex Tillerson, which was confirmed by then the National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster.
Smolenkov disappeared with his family while on vacation in Montenegro in June 2017, the report said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday: "I can only state that this employee existed, that he was sacked, and that we don't know whether he was a spy or not".
At the same time, Zakharova called the publication that Smolenkov worked for the Central Intelligence Agency "classical propaganda".
The Kremlin this week said the man had worked there but did not have direct contact with Putin.