After Russian security services arrested American diplomat Ryan C. Fogle, accusing him of being a CIA spy sent to recruit Russian citizens, one of the pieces of evidence they presented was a one-page letter they say he was carrying.
The letter, addressed to "dear friend," contains Russian-language instructions on how to spy on behalf of the CIA and promises up to $1 million payment per year. A photograph of the letter ran on the Moscow-financed Russian news outlet RT, along with a video of the arrest and several other photos.
Here's RT's English-language translation of the letter, which explains how to open a Gmail account and offers to buy the recruit a new laptop:
This is a down-payment from someone who is very impressed with your professionalism and who would greatly appreciate your cooperation in the future. Your security means a lot to us. This is why we chose this way of contacting you. We will continue to make sure our correspondence remains safe and secret.
We are ready to offer you $100,000 to discuss your experience, expertise and cooperation. The reward may be much greater if you are willing to answer specific questions. In addition to that, we can offer up to $1 million a year for long-term cooperation, with extra bonuses if we receive some helpful information.
To get back with us, please go to an internet cafe, or a coffee shop that has wi-fi, and open a new Gmail account which you will use exclusively to contact us. As you register, do not provide any personal info that can help identify you or your new account. Don't provide any real contacts, e.g. your phone number or other email addresses.
If Gmail asks for personal info, start the registration process again and avoid providing such data. Once you register this new account, use it to send a message to unbacggdA@gmail.com. In exactly one week, check this mailbox for a response from us.
(If you use a netbook or any other device (e.g., a tablet) to open the account at a coffee shop, please don't use a personal device with your data on it. If possible, buy a new device (paying in cash) which you will use to contact us. We will reimburse you for this purchase.)
Thank you for reading this letter. We look forward to working with you in the nearest future.
The letter reads, as some Russia-watchers have pointed out, more like a scam e-mail you might receive from a "Nigerian prince" than a piece of top-secret espionage by the world's premier spy service. Maybe some of that tone is due to the translation, but it's still difficult to understand why a CIA spy would carry a letter carefully detailing instructions that could just as easily – and more securely – be relayed in person.