Russia foils terror attack as Trump shares intel with Putin
Sheetal Sukhija - Monday 18th December, 2017
Putin calls Trump to thank him for for CIA intel he shared
Based on the the intel, Russia foiled the terror attack in St. Petersburg
The White House confirmed the phone call between Trump and Putin
MOSCOW, Russia - On Sunday, the White House confirmed a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, and during the call, Putin reportedly thanked Trump for a tip from the CIA.
Putin pointed out that it was this tip that helped in thwarting a terrorist attack being planned in St. Petersburg.
While White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that such a phone call did indeed take place - reports clarified that it was unusual since countries share intelligence all the time, but presidents rarely publicly thank one another for it.
Putin reportedly told Trump that the information provided by the CIA allowed Russian law enforcement agencies to track down and detain a group of suspects who were planning to bomb the centrally located Kazan Cathedral and other crowded parts of Russia’s second-largest city.
The White House said in its readout of the call, “Based on the information the United States provided, Russian authorities were able to capture the terrorists just prior to an attack that could have killed large numbers of people.”
It added, “Both leaders agreed that this serves as an example of the positive things that can occur when our countries work together.”
The Kremlin meanwhile said that during their phone conversation, Putin asked Trump to pass along his gratitude to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the American intelligence agents who received the information.
Kremlin added that Putin also told Trump that “if Russian special services obtain any information on terrorist threats against the United States and its citizens, they will definitely and immediately pass it to American counterparts through partner channels.”
The White House noted that Trump “then called Director Pompeo to congratulate him, his very talented people, and the entire intelligence community on a job well done!”
This was the second direct conversation between the two leaders since Thursday, when they spoke after Putin’s annual four-hour televised news conference.
During this press conference, the Russian leader mentioned the booming U.S. stock market as an example of Trump’s successes.
The White House later said that Trump thanked Putin for remarks he made “acknowledging America’s strong economic performance.”
Putin said he doubted Trump would be able to improve relations between their two countries because the U.S. president was being held back by his political opposition and allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election were being invented to raise doubts about Trump’s legitimacy.
According to reports, the CIA tip apparently provided the breakthrough that allowed Russian authorities to detain seven members of what officials identified as Islamic State cells last week.
Investigators in Russia revealed that the suspects had been planning a suicide bombing this weekend in Kazan Cathedral, a St. Petersburg landmark located on Nevsky Prospect, its main thoroughfare.
The cathedral was built between 1801 and 1811, and, controversially at the time, was designed along the lines of a Roman Catholic basilica.
In a statement, Russian state television reported the capture of the alleged cell members, along with a video that shows agents in action and an on-camera confession.
The state television reported quoted a man identified as Yevgeny Yefimov as confessing that he planned to carry out an attack in the city.
Later, Yefimov told a St. Petersburg court that he was planning to target the Kazan Cathedral.
On Sunday, the RIA Novosti also reported that three more people were arrested in connection with the alleged plot.
Reports pointed out that the agency had published a list of 17 major terrorist plots that Russian law enforcement has been able to head off this year.
According to law enforcement agencies, the suspects in the latest arrests had been using the messaging app Telegram to communicate with Islamic State leaders abroad.
This revelation comes a month after Telegram was fined for refusing to provide Russian security forces access to the online conversations of two suspects linked to a suicide bombing in April that killed 16 people and injured about 100.
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