Sergey Naryshkin, the Chief of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR, was placed under US sanctions back in 2014 after Russia invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea. Nevertheless, Naryshkin was allowed to enter the US last week and subsequently met with DCI Mike Pompeo. Part of what we know of the trip was learned, of course, because the Russians decided to make it public. First in reporting at Tass, which was then highlighted by the Russian Embassy in DC.
The director of Russia’s foreign intelligence, Sergey Naryshkin, has visited the United States for consultations with #US?? counterparts on the struggle against terrorism – Ambassador #Antonov
— Russia in USA ?? (@RusEmbUSA) January 30, 2018
What I find interesting is the reason presented: consultations with counterparts regarding terrorism. Ordinarily this type of senior principal to senior principal meeting would be reserved, outside of an official visit or summit, for dealing with a high level, quickly emerging threat the details of which no one would be willing to commit to regular secure channels for fear the details and/or the urgency could get lost in the shuffle. But from the reporting that doesn’t seem to be the case. According to CBS, this was about discussing “the joint struggle against terrorism”.
While it is possible that this is an attempt to cover for a more serious, important, and urgent reason to meet, this whole thing just seems weird. If the meeting was about something that important and urgent, both sides would have worked hard to keep it quiet until well after whatever they were concerned about had been prevented or dealt with.
For now, file this between the Hmm Files and the X-Files.