Did Anna Chapman Try to Seduce an Obama Official? [Updated]

Anna Chapman

Momentarily famous Russian spy Anna Chapman was deported to Russia: Obama officials were worried she was getting near an official in Obama's inner circle. On a new BBC series called Modern Spies, Frank Figliuzzi, head of counterintelligence for the FBI, said Chapman was a real threat, but will not name the Obama official in question:

"[She got] closer and closer to higher and higher ranking leadership ... she got close enough to disturb us. We were becoming very concerned. They [Chapman and the rest of the spy circle] were getting close enough to a sitting US cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue."

The series also features the story of Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, a.k.a "Curveball," the Iraqi defector who gave false intelligence to U.S officials about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkinson, admits that the U.S government "sexed up" Janabi's accounts to make war in Iraq seem more palatable.

Update: While Figliuzzi's above quote is certainly a juicy one — one that, say, works for promoting a new TV show — an FBI spokesperson tells Spencer Ackerman of Danger Room that the widespread reports of an attempted seduction by Chapman are inaccurate.

That senior FBI official’s comments “were consistent with and confined to the information outlined in the criminal complaint [against the Chapman spy ring] that was filed nearly two years ago,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson tells Danger Room. “There is no allegation or suggestion in the complaint that Anna Chapman or anyone else associated with this investigation attempted to seduce a U.S. Cabinet official.”

According to the original June 2010 criminal complaint against Chapman’s crew (.PDF) , one of Chapman’s alleged spies, Cynthia Murphy — not Chapman herself — attempted to ingratiate herself to an unnamed “prominent-based New York financier” who was friends with a “current cabinet official,” also unnamed. One of Chapman’s Moscow handlers allegedly remarked, “maybe he can provide [Murphy] with remarks re US foreign policy, ‘roumors’ [sic] about White House internal ‘kitchen,’ invite her to venues.”