Or maybe you may remember her as Anna Chapman.
Let’s take a shirt trip in the “Way Back” machine……
The alleged Russian spy capturing most of the media attention today is Anna Chapman. The New York Post describes her as “a flame-haired, 007-worthy beauty” with a “Victoria’s Secret body” who is accused of passing info to Russian handlers weekly since January. Her Facebook page has all kinds of “suggestive self-portraits,” notes Lauren Frayer at AOL News. Chapman is 28, divorced, and reportedly has a master’s in economics and an online real estate business. She lives in a swanky part of New York City’s financial district.
An FBI agent was to set her up by posing as a handler and asking, “Excuse me, but haven’t we met in California last summer?” She was to answer, “No, I think it was the Hamptons.” She never showed up for that rendezvous, however, perhaps because she smelled a rat. Moscow, meanwhile, has acknowledged that some of those arrested are Russian citizens but criticized the State Department for its “Cold War-era spy stories,” reports AP.
After her arrest along with several other members of her American cell the clarity of her mission was exposed….
The US government on continued to flesh out its case against the 29-year-old Siberian woman accused of spying for Russia, and its most recently revealed allegations include offers of sex and contacts with the spy agency that succeeded the KGB. Prosecutors laid out the allegations in documents filed Wednesday in court in an attempt to have Maria Butina detained until her trial; a judge on Wednesday afternoon denied her bail, the Huffington Post reports. Characterizing her as an “extreme” flight risk, the documents noted she has access to money and cited surveillance video that indicated she was actually planning to leave. The AP reports her apartment lease is up at the end of the month and her belongings were already boxed at the time of her arrest. More:
- The Anna Chapman reference: The FBI uncovered Twitter communications between Butina and a Russian official identified by NPR and CNN as Alexander Torshin, whom the US sanctioned in April. NPR reports he was allegedly her point of contact within the Russian government. One alleged message from Torshin sent in March 2017: “You have upstaged Anna Chapman. She poses with toy pistols while you are being published with real ones.”
- And another: Butina allegedly sent Torshin a photo showing her near the Capitol on the day of Trump’s inauguration. His alleged reply: “You’re a daredevil girl! What can I say!” The AP reports Butina replied, “Good teachers!”
- More on Torshin: He was part of a group sanctioned due to their ties to Vladimir Putin and the hand they had in “advancing Russia’s malign activities.” He has been a National Rifle Association life member since 2012.
- Her other alleged connections: Per CNN, prosecutors allege Butina was in contact with members of the Russian FSB, the successor to the KGB, and that she also communicated with a billionaire who she referred to as her “funder.”
- What each side alleges: Butina’s lawyer says she was simply a student studying at American University who “at most” was trying to strengthen relations between the US and Russia. Prosecutors allege Butina had been instructed to use contacts she was forging at the NRA and conservative groups to amass info on US officials and politics.
- Sex: The court papers reference a Person 1 with whom Butina had a relationship; NPR identifies him as political fundraiser Paul Erickson. But the FBI alleges Butina “offered an individual other than Person 1 sex in exchange for a position with a special interest organization. Further, in papers seized by the FBI, Butina complained about living with Person 1.” That organization was not named.
Butina was deported back to Russia where she became an instant personality and national hero……and that brings us to today……
Butina is running for the Russian parliament with an unusual backer…..
Convicted Russian agent Maria Butina has been elected to the lower house of Parliament in her home country but not in her home city.
BusinessInsider reported Sunday that Butina was elected to represent the rural region of Kirov Oblast, about 2,700 miles from her hometown Barnaul, Altai Krai. When she was just 19, she served on the public council of Altai Krai.
She appeared in the U.S., claiming she was a “gun-rights activist,” focusing on meeting leaders involved in the National Rifle Association (NRA). She connected with GOP officials and political leaders to set up a “back-channel” with the Kremlin. Butina remains to insist she was never a spy for Russia but pleaded guilty to being a Russian foreign agent in 2018.
One of Butina’s big supporters for her election was Patrick Byrne, the supporter of President Donald Trump, who spent a lot of time at the White House as Trump crafted his protest losing the 2020 election. The two had previously been lovers, prior to Paul Erickson. Byrne told Insider that he gave the donation to her political campaign because he had “a desire to let her land on her feet and restart her life in Russia.”
Why would this American former CEO, a raging Trumper, care about Russian politics?
Or is she back to her old infiltrate thing?
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”