SOCHI, October 17. /TASS/. Washington provided Moscow with information on a number of individuals who plotted to commit terrorism-related crimes in Russia, Director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov told a press briefing after the 18th session of the heads of intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies that are partnering with the FSB.
"Not so long ago, the Americans tipped us off about certain individuals and their plans to carry out terrorist attacks in our country," he said, when speaking about cooperation with the United States. Bortnikov declined to specify when Russia had received the information from the US but pointed out that it hadn’t been the first time that such information had been provided.
In 2017, the US helped in the investigation of a plot to carry out a terrorist attack in the Kazan Cathedral in Russia’s St. Petersburg, while Moscow assisted in investigating the Boston Marathon blasts. According to Bortnikov, Russia maintains counterterrorism cooperation with other countries’ intelligence agencies as well. "We continue activities in this area, engaging intelligence agencies of the Commonwealth [of Independent States], European and Middle East countries," he emphasized.
Bortnikov added that one of the goals of the annual meeting hosted by the FSB was to engage intelligence and security bodies in the fight against terrorism. "We are very grateful to our colleagues for the information they supply to us," he noted. "We do the same, providing them with assistance and support, and informing them about all threats that we come across," Bortnikov added.
According to the FSB top brass, Russia and the United States have never suspended contacts between their security services on the anti-terror track. "We have always maintained working contacts with the Americans regardless of the situation developing in political relations between our countries," Bortnikov said. "We have always stressed, and the US side has always agreed, that politics is politics, yet the activity of the authorities on the frontlines must continue. A lot depends on this," he stressed.
"We maintain working contacts at the level of our experts and heads of special units with the US Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration. These issues are settled not only here, within the framework of our conference [of the heads of security services — TASS], but also bilaterally on the territory of those structures," the FSB director said.
There are concrete examples in the practice of bilateral cooperation, when the two countries "assist each other in obtaining first-hand information on imminent attacks or an investigation into crimes," he stressed.
Contacts in cybersecurity
Russia and the United States are slowly restoring contacts to cooperate in the domain of cyber security, the FSB director stated.
"There are many issues we are discussing with the Americans, particularly in the domain of ensuring information security, cyber security," he said, pointing out that this topic "is being hashed over now."
According to him, the discussions are held in a 2+2 format — between defense and foreign agencies. "In other words, we are restoring these ties," Bortnikov stressed.