AP Exclusive: South Ossetian (woman) activist comes to Washington, questions of KGB ties raised

DESMOND BUTLER and MATT SIEGEL – Associated Press (via Newsday.com) – 15 Dec, 2008

In this image from video Lira Tskhovrebova looks at transcripts of her alleged conversations with a KGB deputy director duirng an interview with with the Associated Press at the AP in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/APTN)

In this image from video Lira Tskhovrebova looks at transcripts of her alleged conversations with a KGB deputy director duirng an interview with with the Associated Press at the AP in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/APTN)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A foreign activist lobbying in Washington to draw American attention to a war over a Russian-backed breakaway region has had frequent meetings and conversations with a high-level KGB agent there, she acknowledged to The Associated Press. Unknown to her, years of her phone calls were secretly recorded by spies.

Calling attention to war crimes against South Ossetians, self-described independent activist Lira Tskhovrebova lined up meetings at the U.S. State Department and on Capitol Hill. She visited with staff for Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of a panel overseeing foreign aid. The U.S. government itself paid for an academic event where she plans to speak later this week about her experiences surviving the war this summer with Georgia.

But Americans meeting with Tskhovrebova didn’t know about her ties to South Ossetia’s KGB security service. She has rejected claims she was a spy, saying contact with security services is routine in her region. But Georgian intelligence provided the AP with secretly recorded conversations in which Tskhovrebova appears to discuss assignments, money and information with Vasily Guliev, whom Georgia identified as deputy director for counterintelligence for the security agency still known by the Soviet-era acronym KGB. . .

. . . read complete article and see video . . .
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