A new book by author Calder Walton claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to assassinate a CIA agent on American soil. In “Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West,” Walton says the plot, planned in 2020, was to kill a Russian defector living in Miami. Aleksandr Potoyev was a former Kremlin intelligence official turned American spy who helped to bring down several moles living undercover in the United States.
The attempted assassination occurred in Florida in 2018. The lead-up to the attempt began in 2011 when FBI agents closed in on a group of Russian spies. The feds were led to the secret agents via information received from Potoyev, and Putin wanted revenge for what he saw as a treasonous act. Knowing Potoyev was now a target, the CIA placed him in a safe house inside the US.
He was sentenced in his absence to decades of imprisonment by a Russian court in 2011. Five years later, the media in Moscow began to report that Potoyev had died, but the CIA said this was a ploy to try to flush him out. To locate its target, the Kremlin recruited a Mexican scientist Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, to help. He was instructed to rent an apartment near Potoyev and find out his vehicle details.
Fuentes later told all to US law enforcement officers and prompted a row between America and Russia. Both countries expelled diplomats in response to the incident.
Calter Walton is a prolific historian specializing in intelligence and national security issues. A graduate of the prestigious Cambridge University, he is the author of “Defence of the Realm, a history of the British secret service,” and “Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, Cold War, and the Twilight of Empire,” published in 2013.
He is a lawyer who has worked on various high-profile and complex security and national defense cases. He is currently employed as Assistant-Director of the Applied History Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.