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Monday, 26 June, 2000, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Russians arrest 'CIA hacker'
CIA headquarters in Langley, VIrginia
The hacker was allegedly passing secrets to the CIA
The Russian authorities say they have arrested a man who allegedly spied for the United States by hacking into Russian security service computers.

The man's name has not been revealed, but he is said to be a Lithuanian who passed secrets to his own government as well as to the US.

News of the arrest was given by the Russian domestic security service, the FSB - the successor to the KGB.


The most important thing for the Americans was to use the agent to penetrate information systems used by the Russian FSB

FSB statement

It said the man had hacked into FSB computers and passed on secrets to the US Central Intelligence Agency.

The man is said to have given "detailed testimony" about his spying activities for both the Lithuanian state security department and the CIA.

The statement said the man had been "active on a CIA special operation" from the beginning of 1999.

"The penetration of the FSB's computer network was an important element of the US operation," said the FSB in a statement.

Putin
Vladimir Putin: Former head of the KGB

According to the Russians, the man hacked in to the FSB's own computer system to find out the organisation's structure, staffing, and what counter-measures the Russians might be taking against Western operations.

"The most important thing for the Americans was to use the agent to penetrate information systems used by the Russian FSB in order regularly to obtain operative and other information," the FSB said.

The man is also said to have confessed to attemping to recruit an FSB agent as a spy, during a planned meeting in Poland.

"The CIA aimed to stage a political provocation against Russia, recruit an FSB employee and penetrate the FSB's computer network," the agency said.

Expelled

Even though the Cold War is over, Russia and the US have both accused a number of people of spying over the past year.

In early April, American Edmond Pope was arrested in Russia as an alleged spy, and is still being held.

His arrest came only months after US diplomat Cherie Leberknight was ordered to leave the country for allegedly trying to obtain military secrets.

Shortly afterwards, Washington expelled a Russian diplomat.

And less than a fortnight ago, the Americans arrested a retired Reserve Army officer and accused him of spying for the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The spying expulsions did not halt a summit meeting between US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin - himself a former KGB head - earlier in June.

The two men said they had held constructive talks, but disagreed strongly on a proposed US defence system, and correspondents said there was little evidence of personal warmth between them.

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See also:

05 Apr 00 | Europe
US 'spy' held in Moscow
15 Mar 00 | Europe
Moscow arrests 'British spy'
14 Oct 98 | Americas
US army analyst accused of spying
02 Dec 99 | Europe
US 'spy' recalled
13 Sep 99 | Britain betrayed
Who's being spied on?
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