Ukrainian Conflict Partly Responsible for US Anti-Russian Spy Bill

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US-Russian tensions over the Ukraine crisis contributed to efforts in Congress to resurrect a program initially designed to catch Soviet spies, former CIA and US National Intelligence Council officer Paul Pillar told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, BuzzFeed News, citing intelligence sources, reported that the US Senate Intelligence Committee proposed a bill to re-establish a Cold War-era interagency committee to counter Russian espionage activities on US soil.

"The overall increase in tension between the United States and Russia over the past year or so, especially with regard to events in Ukraine, clearly is part of the background to the Senate Intelligence Committee taking this step," Pillar said.

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The exact timing of the measure, Pillar noted, is related to the cycle for writing an intelligence authorization bill, which occurs every year.

The proposal, Pillar added, is an omnibus piece of legislation that incorporates many different and otherwise unrelated measures that have something to do with intelligence.

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The Senate Intelligence Committee proposal also calls for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate requests by US-based Russian diplomats who wish to travel 50 miles outside their official post, according to BuzzFeed.

The press office of the Russian embassy in the United States told Sputnik on Wednesday that reports of the US legislation to re-establish the anti-spy program was saddening.

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