Paul Whelan, accused by the Russian authorities, drew interest from counterintelligence back in 2007, when the purpose of his visit to Russia was not tourism, Kommersant reported.
According to the source, while Whelan was on official leave in Moscow, he was serving as a United States Marine, his unit was in Iraq.
However, when he came, he began to establish contacts with a representative of Russian special services and law enforcement agencies, which quickly aroused interest from counterintelligence. As a result, every step, call or meeting was carefully monitored.
And it bore fruit, there was information that he at the meetings repeatedly hinted at his connection with US intelligence and showed interest in learning about “state secrets”, as much as possible.
In addition to this, he made a very special present to one person – a book with a gift signature of Oleg Kalugin, a former KGB major general who was convicted of treason in absentia by a Moscow court.
He had been into espionage in Moscow and St. Petersburg for 10 years. During this time, Whelan was able to make the acquaintances of the Russian special services. However, this did not help him during his detention at the Metropol Hotel, but at the same time, the data, he collected, managed to reach his addressee. In particular, we are talking about the personnel of one of the FSB units, which were transferred to the American party by Whelan’s friend.
On December 28, 2018, Mr. Whelan was detained during a special FSB operation, after which he was sent to a Moscow court, where he was convicted of espionage and then transferred to a pre-trial detention center at the request of the FSB.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website