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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TV Shows Accused U.S. Spy Being Interrogated by FSB




The Federal Security Service took the unusual step Saturday of showing film on television of the detention of a U.S. diplomat who is to be deported over allegations of spying.


A correspondent on state-owned ORT television demonstrated what he said was special paper used by the diplomat, which was designed to dissolve quickly in water and was used to destroy evidence of espionage instructions.


Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov repeated that the woman, named by local media as Cheri Leberknight, had been caught "red-handed."


Leberknight, whose age was given as 33, was shown by the commercial NTV channel being detained in a park in eastern Moscow and held by both arms by burly men as she was searched.


She was then led into what seemed to be a police station.


"You understand I am an American diplomat," Leberknight said on the video, shot by the Federal Security Service, or FSB, and provided to the TV stations.


"No, we do not yet know," says a voice in the background, with Leberknight replying: "From the conversation in the car I understood that you understand."


She was later shown sitting down, apparently preparing to be questioned. The television stations showed radio equipment, bags of white and blue tablets and flashlights, which they said were used by the U.S. diplomat during her espionage work.


ORT said Leberknight was meeting a person from the Russian Defense Ministry who had revealed secrets for payments of several thousand dollars. She was quoted as saying she had never before met the man, who was also reported to have been detained.