A Russian officer was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday for giving missile secrets to the CIA.
Lt.-Col. Vladimir Nesteret, a senior engineer at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome space base near the Arctic Circle, was stripped of his rank after pleading guilty to the espionage charges. He was found guilty of treason by a military court.
Headlines varied by country of origin. France's Agence France Presse news agency reported Russian space engineer jailed for passing data to CIA, while RT News (formerly Russia Today) went with CIA spy sentenced for stealing Russian rocket secrets.
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said that Nesteret received payments for information on intercontinental ballistic missile.
The conviction comes as Russia ramps up its counter-spying activitis. RT noted that:
In 2011 the FSB exposed 41 career agents of foreign intelligence services operating in Russia. It also established the identities of 158 people who had been doing business with the spies, according to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was speaking at a meeting with FSB officials.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have escalated recently over Syria. Russia, a long-time ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria that would have urged Assad to step down.
Moreover, according to The Associated Press:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also has been increasingly eager to challenge the U.S. as he campaigns to reclaim his nation's presidency in next month's election. He has accused Washington of fueling the massive protests that have recently taken place against his rule in order to weaken the nation.