We’ve all had those nights. Maybe you knocked back one (or three) too many gin-and-tonics. Maybe you texted your ex a slew of suggestive emoji. Or maybe you risked blowing your cover by boasting about being a Russian spy.
Apparently, this last thing was an ongoing problem for Maria Butina, the gun-loving Russian woman accused of spying for the Russian government in the U.S. On more than two occasions, CNN reports, Butina got drunk and openly bragged about her connections to Russian intelligence. Sources say her comments were so “alarming” that classmates reported her to law enforcement twice.
“She’s like a Scud missile. There’s no precision,” said Robert Baer, a CIA veteran and intelligence and security analyst.
In her graduate-level classes at American University — where she had enrolled as a cover while working on behalf of the Russian government, prosecutors allege — Butina routinely defended Putin, and even once announced in class that she was a liaison between Russia and the Trump campaign, according to a former classmate.
Butina was also notable for her prolific use of unencrypted social-media networks, like Twitter and WhatsApp. She has been accused by classmates of being “a little too friendly,” wantonly initiating footsie games under the table and approaching older men at political events, then friend-requesting them on Facebook. “Her overly flirtatious approach,” notes CNN, “left men wondering what she was truly after.”
Maria Butina: Russian spy, relatable drunk, horny person, or all three?