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Russia denounces allegations by spy defector in U.S. book

RIA Novosti

28/01/2008 13:57 MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) said on Monday that allegations by former spy master Sergei Tretyakov recently published in a book in the U.S. were "a PR move glorifying treason."

The book is based on a series of interviews with Tretyakov, who was deputy head of intelligence at Russia's UN mission from 1995 to 2000, and defected to the U.S. as a double agent. The book quotes the ex-spy as saying that Moscow is actively involved in "subversive activities" against Washington.

"Leaving the so-called 'revelations' to Tretyakov's conscience, we would like to emphasize that intelligence services in all countries have always condemned propaganda and PR moves based on treason as an abominable act, and treason is considered a crime punished by law," the SVR said in a statement.

Written by former Washington Post journalist Pete Earley, the 352-page book is entitled "Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia's Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War," and was released on January 24 by Putnam Publishing Group.

Tretyakov, 51, had never publicly spoken about his spying activities before last week, when he granted interviews to publicize the book. He refused to meet with Russian officials to discuss his allegations.

Tretyakov's defection has been shrouded in secrecy by both Moscow and Washington, although the book claims that the former Russian spy master passed over 5,000 secret documents to his U.S. handlers and has been debriefed by a number of Western intelligence agencies.

"In this respect, the SVR press-service is obliged to inform that Russian citizen Tretyakov decided in October 2000 to stay with his family in the United States and in a written note promised that his defection would not affect Russia's national interests," the SVR statement said.

Russian intelligence officials also said that the service will not provide further comments on the issue.

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