FBI Director Wray warns still too many Russian spies in U.S.

September 8, 2023

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Thursday that the number of Russian spies operating inside the U.S. is “still way too big,” despite efforts to root them out. 

During public remarks at the International Spy Museum in Washington, Wray said, “The Russian traditional counterintelligence threat continues to loom large,” and that U.S. intelligence officials “are constantly bumping up against [Russian spies] and trying to block and prevent and disrupt in every way we can.”

Wray did stress that the U.S. has made “very positive, significant strides” in reducing Russia’s “disproportionately large…intelligence footprint” inside the country.

“If anybody needs a reminder of what Russia’s interests are, you can just look at what’s going on in Ukraine,” Wray added. “And so, we never lose sight of the fact that these are the same people that are involved in unconscionable activity and aggression in Ukraine.”

The FBI Director further warned that the Russians are using cut-outs, or individuals who act as intermediaries between intel agents, pointing to the case of Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a Mexican national who was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2020 for spying on Russia’s behalf.

In 2018, the U.S. expelled 60 Russian diplomats who had been identified as intelligence agents and ordered the closure of Russia’s consulate in Seattle. 

PHOTO: Chris Wray before Congress July 2023 

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