Ex-FBI source charged with Biden lies is tied to Russian intelligence, prosecutors say

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building is seen on June 9, 2023, in Washington.
The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building is seen on June 9, 2023, in Washington.
Alex Brandon/AP

The former FBI informant charged with fabricating claims about a bribery scheme involving Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company has "extensive" contacts with Russian intelligence agencies, according to the Justice Department.

Federal prosecutors also say in a new court filing that Alexander Smirnov admitted to authorities after he was arrested that "officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story" about President Biden's son, Hunter.

In the filing in federal court in Nevada, prosecutors argue that Smirnov be held in custody, pending trial. Smirnov, a longtime FBI informant, was arrested last week and charged with making false statements and creating a false and fictitious record.

Through his attorneys, Smirnov has asked the court to be released ahead of trial, saying he has ties to the community and isn't a flight risk.

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In their detention memo, prosecutors push back against both those arguments, and point to what they call four "indisputable facts" that favor detention.

Smirnov, they said, "claims to have contacts with multiple foreign intelligence agencies," and had planned to leave the U.S. for months just two days after he was arrested to meet with Russian intelligence officials, among others.

Prosecutors argued that his foreign intelligence contacts could resettle him, if he were to flee the U.S. now.

Prosecutors also said that Smirnov, 43, has access to $6 million in "liquid funds," which he did not disclose to Pretrial Services. Instead, he told them that he had only $1,500 in cash on hand and $5,000 in a personal checking account, according to the government.

Prosecutors also noted that Smirnov is a dual U.S. and Israeli citizen. While Smirnov has volunteered to turn over his Israeli passport, prosecutors say he could get a new passport at any time at an Israeli consulate.

But much of the government's detention memo focuses on Smirnov's alleged contacts with Russia's government and intelligence services.

Prosecutors said Smirnov reported his contacts to his FBI handler. Smirnov described one of his contacts, described only as Russian Official 1, as someone "who controls groups that are engaged in overseas assassination efforts." Another contact is described as a high-ranking Russian foreign intelligence service officer.

"Smirnov's contacts with Russian officials who are affiliated with Russian intelligence services are not benign," prosecutors said.

The government said that in September 2023, Smirnov "pushed" another story about President Biden and Hunter Biden that the FBI knew to be false.

"Thus, Smirnov's efforts to spread misinformation about a candidate of one of the two major parties in the United States continues," prosecutors said. "He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November."

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