MOSCOW (CBS/WIRE SERVICES) An alleged Russian double agent is reportedly on the run after it was revealed that he led U.S. officials to the Russian spy ring - including tabloid favorite Anna Chapman - that was deported from the US this summer.
The well-respected paper Kommersant wrote an article identifying the traitor as "Colonel Shcherbakov," - no first name given - a man with a daughter in the United States whose job in the SVR, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, was to plant civilian moles in the United States similar to the deep cover spy ring he allegedly gave up.
A Russian legislator specializing in national security subsequently confirmed the newspaper report. Gennady Gudkov, a member of the Russian parliament's national security committee, said "Shcherbakov turned over our agents in the U.S.A....knew of this long before the publication today in Kommersant."
Shcherbakov reportedly fled Russia for the United States three days prior to President Dmitry Medvedev's June visit to Washington, the newspaper reported.
The newspaper also quoted an anonymous Kremlin official saying that Shcherbakov is a huge target.
"Do not doubt that a Mercader has been sent after him already," the official told the paper, referring to Russian agent Ramon Mercader, who murdered exiled Bolshevik Leon Trotsky with an ice axe in 1940 in Mexico.
Scherbakov's alleged help led to the FBI arresting of 10 people as spies in the U.S., who were eventually deported in a prisoner exchange with Moscow.
Chapman, one of the ten arrested, became famous after pictures of the attractive redhead from her Facebook page were widely circulated in the news and online. She was called a "highly trained" agent, and later posed for the.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin threw a hero's welcome when the ten spies came back to Russia, leading the group in a nationalistic sing-a-long.