Russian security agents suspected of treason reportedly charged with passing secrets to the CIA

A senior Russian intelligence officer who was arrested for treason in December has been charged with passing secrets on to the CIA, sources told Russian news agency Interfax on Tuesday.

Sergei Mikhailov was the deputy head of the information security department of the FSB, Russia’s national security service. He was arrested along with Dmitry Dokuchaev, a cybersecurity expert who worked as a hacker under the alias “Forb,” and Ruslan Stoyanov, a key cybercrime investigator at Russia’s biggest cybersecurity firm.

They were arrested shortly after the CIA concluded that Russian hackers, at the Kremlin’s order, broke into Democratic National Committee servers and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s inbox during the election.

Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported last week that Mikhailov, the senior FSB official, had been accused of giving US intelligence officials information about a server rental company, “King Servers,” through which Russian hackers have been known to attack the US. Interfax’s reporting on Tuesday was the first to mention a CIA link.

Investigators are also reportedly examining money that Stoyanov, the hacker-hunter at Kaspersky, allegedly received from foreign companies or entities. A source told Russia’s Kommersant newspaper that the case has been filed under article 275 of Russia’s criminal code, which allows the government to prosecute an individual suspected of aiding a foreign state or organisation.

“Stoyanov was involved in every big arrest of cybercriminals in Russia in past years,” a source familiar with Stoyanov’s past work told Forbes.

Andrei Soldatov, who has studied the internet and Russian security services for more than a decade, told Business Insider last week that Stoyanov was “seen as a sort of broker” between an unnamed foreign company and Mikhailov. So the treason charges could have been a result of Stoyanov facilitating foreign access to someone with Russian security clearance — in this case, Mikhailov.

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