Russian journalist observing US midterms briefly detained by FBI
The FBI has reportedly questioned USA Really head Alexander Malkevich at Washington airport after his trip to cover the midterm elections. The Russian mission in the US has requested information on the incident.
“In connection with media reports concerning the detention of Russian journalist Alexander Malkevich by FBI officers in Washington airport, an inquiry regarding the circumstances of the event was sent to the US Department of State,” it said.
In connection with media reports concerning detention of Russian journalist Alexander Malkevich by @FBI officers in the Washington airport, an inquiry regarding the circumstances of the event was sent to the @StateDeptpic.twitter.com/NSPjDM8WZO— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) November 11, 2018
Malkevich, a member of the Russian Civic Chamber, was an observer during the November 6 elections in the US state of Maryland, according to the chamber’s website.
On Thursday, he said that the scale of violations in states ruled by Democrats had “deeply shocked” him. The next day, several FBI agents approached him in the airport “like in the movies,” and asked him to follow them, he told Federal News Agency (FAN).
The agents searched Malkevich’s luggage and questioned him for around half an hour. They suggested that he had better cooperate with them, he recounted.
At first, the agents tried to delve into the activities of the USA Really website, which Malkevich heads, and link the journalist to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections.
He described the questioning as really “funny,” especially the second part, in which the FBI wondered if he was a military intelligence (GRU) agent, and asked other questions that reflected myths about Russia that are fueled by Western mainstream media.
It eventually transpired that the purpose of this incident was to notify the journalist that USA Really may be required to register as a foreign agent. After the questioning, Malkevich was allowed to leave the US.