According to a new report in the New York Times, the White House has awarded a contract to guard the U.S. embassy in Moscow to a company linked to Russia’s top spy agency, the KGB.
The State Department awarded the $2.8 million contract to Elite Security Holdings, a company co-founded by retired Russian general Viktor G. Budanov, The Times reports.
A Trump administration official told the newspaper that the company has been properly “vetted” and will only carry out security tasks previously handled by local guards hired by the embassy.
The firm will operate at the Moscow embassy, as well as U.S. consulates in three other Russian cities. U.S. Marines will still guard the grounds and high security locations of the outposts.
Budanov, 82, previously led Soviet Counterintelligence as the head of the KGB, where he oversaw now-Russian President Vladimir Putin when he was a young intelligence officer.
The former espionage agent worked against Western intelligence agencies during the early years of the Russian Federation under former President Boris Yeltsin.
The U.S. issued the contract to Elite Security after Putin’s order that the U.S. embassy reduce its permanent staff to 455.
The move to hire the Russian firm, which could be susceptible to state security influence, comes amid growing concerns over Moscow-backed efforts to undermine American elections.
Yup. Trump is hiring Russian spies to protect American embassies and consulates. What could possibly go wrong?