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White Russian meddling: Accused spy Maria Butina reportedly blew her cover because she got too drunk

Maria Butina, the 29-year-old woman arrested for operating as a Russian secret agent in the U.S., was apparently not so skilled at keeping secrets after a few vodka shots.

by Rex Santus
Aug 3 2018, 3:31pm

Maria Butina, the 29-year-old woman arrested for operating as a Russian secret agent in the U.S., was apparently not so skilled at keeping secrets after a few vodka shots.

In fact, Butina repeatedly bragged about her work as a spy for the Russian government while drunk, sources told CNN. On two occasions, classmates were so distressed by Butina’s claims that they reported her to law enforcement.

Even sober, she wasn’t exactly careful with how she communicated, favoring apps like Twitter and WhatsApp. Other sources told CNN that Butina was quick to use flirtatious behavior like footsie to get the attention of men at political events, raising suspicion with her heavy-handed overtures.

Butina was a graduate student at American University, which prosecutors say was a cover for her work as a Russian political operative in the United States. One source told CNN that Butina — seemingly unconcerned with blowing said cover — claimed during a class that she was an envoy between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Not that she was doing a lot of classwork — according to the indictment, an unnamed American working with her completed most of her assignments on her behalf.

Even so, before her loose lips sunk her political relationships, Butina allegedly made prominent connections within the National Rifle Association and even dated a major Republican political operative. She was arrested in Washington, D.C., last month and charged with conspiracy and acting as a foreign agent.

Cover image: Mariia Butina, leader of a pro-gun organization, speaks on October 8, 2013 during a press conference in Moscow. STR/AFP/Getty Images.