State Department Official Didn’t Disclose Ties With Russian Spy And Boyfriend

U.S. Department of State / Public Domain

The US official in charge of arms control negotiations with Moscow did not disclose ties to Russian agent Maria Butina.

Andrea Thompson, the State Department official in charge of U.S. arms control negotiations with Moscow, and her husband had a long friendship with Paul Erickson and his girlfriend, Russian agent Maria Butina. Thompson did not disclose this relationship to superiors or Congress during her confirmation as the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs in spring of 2018.

Erickson officiated the June 2017 wedding of Thompson and David Gillian, a former senior Australian army officer. Thompson was serving as national security advisor to Vice President Pence at the time. Four months before the wedding, Gillian transferred Erickson $100,000, which Erickson allegedly stole from Gillian. Thompson never disclosed these ties to her superiors.

By the time Thompson was confirmed, news had already spread about Erickson and Butina’s connections to Russian operations inside the United States. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has said that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will investigate Thompson’s lack of disclosure, which is viewed as a serious lack of judgment by those within the Trump administration.

Given that Thompson’s former boss, Michael Flynn, was fired for lying about his connections to Russia, a senior administration official said, “When the person who marries you gets into trouble with the Russians and your job is to negotiate with the Russians, you have to disclose that.”

There is no evidence that Thompson or her husband had any significant contact with Erickson or Butina outside the wedding, and Thompson’s connection with Erickson is not considered a crime in itself.

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