An attempt in 2020 by Russian agents to assassinate a former Russian intelligence officer and CIA informer on US soil has been exposed.
The New York Times reported on the thwarted plot against Aleksandr Poteyev, who was living in Miami.
Calder Walton, a national security scholar at Harvard University, is set to release a book later this month titled “Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West,” in which details of the attempt will be disclosed. The plot is likened to a “modern-day Mercader,” referring to the Soviet agent who assassinated Leon Trotsky in 1940.
Russia is known for targeting informants, as seen in the 2018 poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK. However, targeting an asset on US soil marks a significant escalation.
Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer and the author of “Putin’s Playbook,” told Fox News Digital that this development is a “game changer.” Koffler highlighted the efforts made by the US intelligence community to protect informants who provide critical information and are relocated to the US for safety. She indicated that this incident reveals that the threat level in the US is higher than previously believed.
The assassination plot was foiled due to a botched surveillance operation by a recruited Mexican scientist, Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, which drew the attention of a security guard. Fuentes was manipulated by Russian agents to gather information on Poteyev’s whereabouts. His attempt to conduct surveillance failed when he was caught on security cameras, alerting the US intelligence community.
Koffler asserted that the nation’s existing security measures have proven effective but might need further reinforcement. She emphasized the need for Russian defectors in the US to strictly adhere to security protocols, as the Russian network of operatives is far-reaching.