Flashback: FBI Arrested Russian Spy When She Got Too Close To Clinton Fundraiser

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Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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In the wake of accusations that Russia tampered with the U.S. presidential elections the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. Thursday, but the administration failed to act as harshly four years ago when a Russian spy got too close to Hillary Clinton.

ABC News Radio reported in 2012 the FBI needed to arrest a Russian agent who was under surveillance, among others by the agency, in 2010 when the spy got too close to a sitting a cabinet member.

“We were becoming very concerned they were getting close enough to a sitting U.S. cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue,” FBI counter-intelligence head Frank Figliuzzi told the BBC in an interview.

Department of Justice officials told ABC News one of the arrested Russian agents that Figliuzzi referred to was Cynthia Murphy.

According to court documents about the spies’ arrest, Murphy was in contact with a fundraiser and “personal friend” of Hillary Clinton. The fundraiser, Alan Patricof, said in a 2010 statement that he had kept Murphy’s financial services firm more than two years prior and had met with her several times, as well as communicated with her on the phone on a frequent basis. Patricof insisted they “never” spoke about politics, the government or world events.

A July 2010 Washington Post piece notes that “a Feb. 3, 2009, electronic message to Moscow Center, Murphy reported that she had ‘several work-related meetings’ with a New York financier who was an active political fundraiser and ‘a personal friend of [current Cabinet member whose name was omitted],’ according to the original indictment.”

The Moscow Center, in return, asked Murphy before “Obama’s trip to Moscow” to collect information about the U.S. strategic arms treaty, Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear program. There is no explicit indication she received any information from Patricof, however.

As opposed to shutting down Russia’s illegal program in the United States, then Attorney General Eric Holder said of the arrest, “We have broken up a pretty substantial network” on CBS’ “Face The Nation” at the time.

A spokesperson for Clinton told ABC News in 2010 that at the time there was “no reason to think the Secretary was a target of this spy ring.”

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