US Secret Service has scolded the Guardian for "irresponsible and inaccurate" reporting on an alleged Russian spy at the US embassy in Moscow. Unfazed, the newspaper continued to spin the story calling it the 'tip of the iceberg.'
The British newspaper, never one to pass up a good Russia scare story, published a fresh one on Friday, citing multiple intelligence analysts to reinforce the idea that its own anonymously-sourced revelations of a suspected spy with high-level security clearance having been embedded for a decade in the US embassy in Moscow,"could be just the tip of the iceberg."
The Secret Service, meanwhile, has been issuing repeated rebuttals to the Guardian's reporting. The security officials were quite emphatic in bashing the article as "wrought with irresponsible and inaccurate reporting based on the claims of "anonymous sources'."
In its press release on Thursday, the Secret Service specifically points out that before the publication came out, it had provided the Guardian with background to the story "clearly refuting unfounded information" in its statement to the editor.
The Guardian did mention the agency's response, bundling it in the middle of its article, while citing its unnamed "intelligence source"profusely, claiming that the Russian woman, the suspected mole, "had access to the most damaging database, which is the US Secret Service official mail system." This allegedly included "schedules of the president – current and past, vice-president and their spouses, including Hillary Clinton."
According to the Secret Service, the allegations that a mysterious foreign 'femme fatale' could have access to such sensitive information, are unfounded.
"FSNs [Foreign Service Nationals] working under the direction of the U.S. Secret Service have never been provided or placed in a position to obtain, secret or classified information as erroneously reported."
The agency also dismissed as far-fetched the newspaper's speculation that the woman's eventual dismissal was timed to the expulsion of 755 diplomatic and technical staff in August 2017 ordered by Moscow in retaliation to the new spate of sanctions rolled out by Congress.
"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," the statement reads, stressing that claims that it wanted to cover-up its failure to act on the case are "categorically false."
In a follow-up statement on Friday, the Secret Service stated that an internal review it conducted in wake of the woman's ouster did not show any breach of security by the long-term employee, who was, apparently, just going about her normal duties.