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US spy ring probe: Donegal firefighter quizzed

A fireman has been interviewed by police in the Republic of Ireland after it emerged his passport was used by one of the alleged Russian spies arrested in the US.

Eunan Gerard Doherty, from Ballyloskey, Carndonagh, Co Donegal, has said he has yet to be told if his passport -- or a copy of it -- was used by Richard Murphy.

Murphy was arrested in New Jersey last week, along with his wife, and both have been accused of being Russian spies.

Mr Doherty declined to comment on the revelations yesterday but confirmed he has previously travelled to Moscow on holiday.

A garda source confirmed that Mr Doherty was interviewed in relation to his passport.

When contacted yesterday Mr Doherty said: "I am not making any comment. I am waiting to have a meeting tomorrow. I have a lot of questions that need to be answered."

It is understood that before Mr Doherty travelled to Moscow his passport was sent to the Russian Embassy in Dublin in order to secure the necessary holiday visa. He travelled to Russia in 2005.

The revelations that an Irish passport was used in the alleged conspiracy comes just months after Israeli secret agents used Irish passports to enter Dubai and carry out a murder.

In the recent Russian case, Mr Murphy is alleged to have collected an Irish passport in Mr Doherty's name in Rome earlier this year, and then used it to travel to Russia.

The passport was described in court as an old "transit passport".

Born in Philadelphia and living in New Jersey, Mr Murphy claimed he was instructed to use the false Irish passport, according to details contained in documents released by the US Justice Department.

Ten people have been arrested in the US to date and have been charged with carrying out deep-cover work in the US to recruit political sources and gather information for the Russian government.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it is seeking more information on the allegations that an Irish passport was used.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he is awaiting an explanation on the 10 arrests.

The US Justice Department said the suspects had been arrested following an investigation lasting several years.

In documents they state that, in the spring of 2009, the New Jersey conspirators Richard and Cynthia Murphy were asked by Moscow for information related to Barack Obama's trip to Russia that summer.

They were asked to provide information about the US negotiating position on the START arms reduction treaty as well as Afghanistan and the approach Washington would take in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear programme.

They were also asked to send background on US officials who would be travelling with Mr Obama or involved in policy.

Source Irish Independent

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