09:57 May. 25, 2016
NATO and the European Union are key targets for Russian intelligence
The Kremlin's espionage offensive in Europe came to the surface on Tuesday, May 24, after a Portuguese spy was arrested in Rome for allegedly passing NATO secrets to a Russian intelligence officer.
The supposed double agent, identified by the local media as Frederico Carvalhao, is a member of the Potugal's SIS intelligence service, the country's equivalent of MI5, responsible for internal security and counter-terrorism.
Mr Carvalhão is accused of selling sensitive information relating to Nato and the European Union, both of which are key targets for Russian intelligence.
In line with the tradecraft of espionage, Mr Carvalhao had allegedly been leaving Portugal and travelling to different European capitals to meet his Russian handler since 2014. But he was secretly tracked by the SIS counter-espionage unit.
Last Friday, Mr Carvalhao flew to Rome for a meeting with his Russian contact on Saturday. Italian police accompanied by Portuguese intelligence officers claim to have captured him red-handed in the act of passing documents to the Russian.
Read also Russian hackers target Ukraine and NATO
Unusually, the alleged Russian intelligence officer was not a diplomat with legal immunity, so he was also arrested. Full story