(From The Guardian)
A Russian woman has been charged with spying for Moscow in the US by infiltrating the National Rifle Association (NRA) in an attempt to influence the Republican party and American politics.
Maria Butina, who purported to be a pro-gun activist, met American politicians and candidates to establish “back channels” and secretly reported back to the Kremlin through a high-level Russian official, according to the US justice department.
Prosecutors said in a statement that Butina, 29, had been “developing relationships with US persons and infiltrating organisations having influence in American politics, for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Russian federation”.
Butina was charged with conspiracy to act as a Russian agent within the US without notifying the attorney general. She was arrested on Sunday and appeared before a magistrate in Washington on Monday, officials said. In an affidavit, an FBI agent said investigators had searched Butina’s laptop computer and mobile phone.