Washington, 20 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States has lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Moscow over the discovery that a U.S. intelligence official has been selling secrets to Russian security authorities for at least two years.
U.S. State Department spokesman Glyn Davies said the protest was made in Washington as well as Moscow following the arrest of Harold Nicholson, a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Davies said the United States told the Russian government that this activity is unacceptable and is demanding an explanation.
He said Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott Monday summoned Russia's ambassador to the United States, Yuli Vorontsov to deliver the message and that the U.S. embassy in Moscow yesterday lodged a similar protest with Russian authorities there.
Davies said Washington viewed the incident as a troubling factor that is "inconsistent with the pattern of bilateral relations of recent years.
The Reuter news agency reports that in Moscow, a foreign ministry spokesman said Russia viewed the incident as an internal matter of the United States and that "we have nothing to do with it."