A USA spy was reportedly evacuated from Moscow over fears his identity would be revealed.
But former intelligence officials said there was no public evidence that Trump directly endangered the source, and other current United States officials insisted that media scrutiny of the agency's sources alone was the impetus for the extraction.
That disclosure alarmed USA national security officials, but it was not the reason for the decision to remove the Central Intelligence Agency asset, who had provided information to the United States for more than a decade, according to the current and former officials.
The CIA - the intelligence agency said to have run the mole - declined to comment on the apparent revelations.
The Kommersant newspaper said he had gone on holiday with his family to Montenegro in 2017 and disappeared, before a man with the same name and a woman with the same name as Mr Smolenkov's wife purchased a house in the U.S. state of Virginia, near Washington DC. Montenegro, on the Adriatic, has been a popular destination for Russian vacationers.
The newspaper reported that his swift disappearance from Moscow was initially investigated by Russian secret services, the FSB, as a murder.
A top US spy who was reportedly evacuated from Russian Federation could have been a senior Kremlin official's aide who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, the Kommersant business daily has reported. There was no suggestion President Trump had directly compromised the source, it said.
An extraction, or "exfiltration" as such an operation is referred to by intelligence officials, is an extraordinary remedy when USA intelligence believes an asset is in immediate danger.
CNN returns the Russiagate theme in Jim Sciutto's "Exclusive: US extracted top spy from inside Russian Federation in 2017".
"We have a president who, unlike any other president in modern history, is willing to use sensitive, classified intelligence however he sees fit", said Steven L Hall, a former CIA official who led the agency's Russian Federation operations.
"That's a pretty remarkable intelligence community product - much more specific than what you normally see", one USA official said.
The publication says Smolenkov resides in the US under his real name. Part of it relied on communications intercepts and human intelligence, the official said.
"It's a very hard decision to make, but it is their decision to make", Augustyn said.
RT reported Tuesday that before 2010 the suspected asset worked at the Russian Embassy in Washington. He did not return to Russian Federation after going to Montenegro on holiday in June 2017 with his wife and three children, the paper added. He added that the alleged spy was not a high-ranking official personally appointed by Putin. "There have been times when people have not come out when we strongly suggested that they should".
Handling and running a Moscow-based informant is extremely hard because of Putin's counterintelligence defences.
NBC Newsreported later Monday that five minutes after a reporter knocked on the door of what's believed to be the person's residence in the Washington, D.C. area, two men in an SUV came racing up the street and asked the reporter what he was doing at the home. These "current and former officials" and their friends at the Times are beneath contempt. It takes time to arrange for the asset, and potentially family members, to be secretly removed from the country and resettled.
News reporters in the USA noticed details about potential sources in the information and sent inquiries to the administration.
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