Russia-Ukraine war: NY lawmaker calls on FBI to investigate Russian 'spy' compound

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A New York lawmaker is calling on the FBI to investigate the Russian Diplomatic Compound that experts previously told Fox News Digital houses diplomats who are here to spy on the country.

“We have been appalled and alarmed by Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine. We have been appalled by his war crimes against the Ukrainian people, and it is in that context that I have formally requested that the FBI open an investigation into reports of espionage at the Russian diplomatic compound,” Rep. Ritchie Torres told reporters Tuesday about the white high-rise tower located at 355 West 255th Street.

The Bronx Democrat called it “both metaphorically and literally a structure of surveillance.”

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“We can no longer afford to have the war crimes of Vladimir Putin aided and abetted espionage in our own backyard,” he continued. “Russia has a long history of conducting espionage operations against the United States. 

Earlier this month, several experts told Fox News Digital the compound is home to Russian diplomats, many of whom work in the United States as intelligence officers – or intelligence “operatives,” as the Russians call them – and seek information or connections that the federation might need.

Most Russian intelligence officers – those who work for the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) or the federation’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU – live in the building, which is known to some law enforcement officers as the “plex,” said Robin Dreeke, a retired FBI special agent and former head of the bureau’s Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program, at the time.

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When asked on whom or what these intelligence officers might be spying, Dreeke said, “everything.”

A view of the Russian Diplomatic Compound at 355 West 255th Street

A view of the Russian Diplomatic Compound at 355 West 255th Street
(Google Maps)

On Tuesday, Torres called Russia “the single greatest threat to the national security of the United States,” and added: “We in the Bronx can no longer afford to be in the dark about espionage in our own backyard. Russian espionage must be exposed wherever it exists, and it must be expelled wherever it is exposed. The Homeland Security of the United States depends on it and the people of the Bronx, the people Riverdale deserve nothing less than full transparency from the federal government.”

Before his press conference, Torres sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting the agency open an investigation into the goings-on at the compound.

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“I have heard from my constituents and read numerous reports of alleged Russian spies living in the Russian Diplomatic Compound in the Bronx, New York,” he wrote in the letter, provided to Fox News Digital. “If these allegations are true, I believe we must take steps to protect our homeland and ensure these Russian spies are expelled from the United States.”

The FBI told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that it had received Torres’s letter, but would not comment further. 

Fox News’ Maria Paronich contributed to this report.

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