Thanks to a misconstrued report, “bombshell” Russian spy Anna Chapman is back in the headlines. In a documentary that aired on the BBC on Monday, the FBI’s assistant director of counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi, revealed a member of the Russian spy ring known as “The Illegals” got too close to a high-ranking member of President Obama’s team for the FBI to ignore.
“We were becoming very concerned,” Figliuzzi said in a filmed interview for Modern Spies. “They were getting close enough to a sitting U.S. cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue.”
Alongside Figliuzzi’s comments about the “honeytrap” were images of Chapman, along with another woman who strongly resembles Chapman. Although the FBI official never named exactly who was doing the seducing, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday that Chapman was the reason the FBI moved in on the cell, which had been under surveillance for quite some time prior to the June 2010 arrests and subsequent deportations.
The FBI quickly issued a statement striking down the Telegraph’s conclusion. “There is no allegation or suggestion in the complaint that Anna Chapman or anyone else associated with this investigation attempted to seduce a U.S. Cabinet official,” FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson told ABC News.
While the FBI is staying mum, a Justice Department official told ABC News the spy in question was not Chapman, but Cynthia Murphy, another agent arrested during the operation.