Russian agent Maria Butina sentenced to 18 months in US - Kogonuso

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Apr 27, 2019

Russian agent Maria Butina sentenced to 18 months in US

Steven Hall, the CIA's former chief of Russian operations, said her operating in the open was simply an innovative tactic in Russian President Vladimir Putin's "broader hybrid-warfare influence operation."

"She's part of the Kremlin's plan to try to weaken the United States and the West," he said.

Butina's lawyer Robert Driscoll, a prominent Republican attorney, said she had broken no law besides the registration statute, and would not have been pursued had she been of a different nationality.

It remained to be seen whether Butina's sentencing would impact the case of Paul Whelan, an American corporate security expert arrested while in Moscow for a wedding late last year and accused of espionage.

Some Russian experts said his arrest was retaliation for that of Butina, although Whelan's brother, David, has said he doesn't believe the cases are related.

But before Butina's sentencing Hall, who is no longer with the CIA, said Washington "has to take into account that they do have an American over there, and we have a Russian here."

"So is there not a deal to be had?" he said.
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