Reports have emerged that a Russian spy worked at the United States embassy in Russia for over a decade before her regular meetings with the country's intelligence agency were uncovered during a security sweep.
The woman eventually came under suspicion during a routine security review by the State Department Regional Security Office, when two investigators established she had been having regular, unauthorized meetings with Russia's main security agency FSB, according to the Guardian.
"We figure that all of them are talking to the FSB, but she was giving them way more information than she should have", an official told CNN.
The State Department officials took until January 2017 to alert the Secret Service, who seem to have been rather lackluster in their handling of the alleged Russian spy with supposedly unobstructed access to sensitive data like the USA president's and vice president's work schedules, internal mail communication and intranet.
It is alleged that a woman was officially hired by the US Secret service.
The Regional Security Office reportedly alerted the secret service of its findings in January 2017.
Other embassy employees reportedly emailed the woman at her non-work account, breaking protocol and potentially worsening the problem.
In a statement, U.S. Secret Service officials rejected the British paper's claims of a cover-up and high-level security breach as "categorically false" and said "the article is wrought with irresponsible and inaccurate reporting based on the claims of "anonymous" sources".
The Guardian meanwhile reported the Secret Service attempted to contain the embarrassment by letting her go when Russian Federation ordered the removal of 750 personnel from the American embassy during a diplomatic spat that followed allegations of Moscow's interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.
"This is of particular emphasis in Russian Federation". Foreign employees are relegated to "translation, interpretation, cultural guidance, liaison and administrative support" duties, specifically because they "can be subjected to foreign intelligence influence".
A State Department spokesman would "not comment on allegations related to intelligence or personnel matters".
In this December 2016 photo, Russian policemen stand guard in front of the US Embassy in Moscow.
The State Department also acknowledged the risk of foreign governments trying to recruit its employees overseas and said it screens applicants and employees carefully as a result.