US begins 'superspy' reprisals

A 'TIT-FOR-TAT' war of expulsions seemed likely last night after the United States told the senior intelligence official at the Russian embassy to leave the country within seven days, after the arrest of Aldrich Hazen Ames, the high-ranking CIA officer accused this week of working for the Soviet Union and Russia since 1985.

The expulsion of Aleksandr Lysenko, Washington rezident of the SVRR, the Russian foreign intelligence service which succeeded the KGB, was announced by the State Department. The move came barely 24 hours after a US delegation returned empty-handed from Moscow, where it had somewhat optimistically tried to persuade the Russians to help clear up what is perhaps America's most damaging espionage scandal in modern times.

Despite the Cold War trappings of the occasion, the US reprisal is comparatively modest. Only one Soviet national, said to have been 'in a position to be' Mr Ames' controller, has been ordered out. Also, the notice given to Mr Lysenko is more generous than the 48 or even 24 hours accorded to Soviet citizens declared persona non grata in the past.

Essentially it is a compromise, which the administration hopes will be tough enough to placate growing anti-Russian sentiment on Capitol Hill, yet sufficiently restrained to avoid a response in kind from Moscow. Privately, officials blame not so much the Russians as the CIA and Mr Ames for the debacle.

But whether Washington can avoid escalation is doubtful. Upon being summoned to the State Department and notified of the US sanction, Russia's charge d'affaires here delivered a formal protest of his own. If Moscow does expel a CIA officer, other Russians here could be given their marching orders. 'We take this very seriously,' the State Department spokesman, Mike McCurry, said, indicating that further action was possible.

Earlier, President Clinton, while admitting the 'serious damage' to US national security if the charges against Mr Ames and his wife, Maria, are borne out, again attempted to prevent the spy affair from affecting wider US relations with its former superpower rival, and Washington's underlying strategy of helping the reformist cause in Russia.

US policy was not built on 'illusions and blind faith', he declared - a tacit admission that Washington's spy operations were as vigorous, if perhaps less successful, as those of Moscow. But he appealed for aid to continue.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower