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The FBI is investigating whether Russia's state-owned Sputnik News is a propaganda arm of the Kremlin and therefore operating in the United States in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Yahoo News reported Sunday.
Sputnik's former White House correspondent, Andrew Feinberg, confirmed to Business Insider on Monday that the bureau interviewed him on September 1 about his brief but eye-opening time at Sputnik, which he outlined in Politico late last month.
"As if my life wasn't insane enough already," Feinberg said in an email when asked about the news.
The FBI is now in possession of thousands of internal Sputnik emails and documents that Feinberg downloaded before he left the company and handed over earlier this month, according to Yahoo.
Feinberg used Twitter in May to announce that he'd left Sputnik and "would love to tell you why."
Sputnik and Russia's other state-owned news outlet, Russia Today, share an editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan. The US intelligence community has pointed to outlets like Russia Today as being part of a disinformation campaign on behalf of the Kremlin to hurt Hillary Clinton's chances of winning last year's US election.
Sputnik US's editor-in-chief, Mindia Gavasheli, told Yahoo that "any assertion that we are not a news organization is simply false," adding that "this is the first time I'm hearing about" the FBI investigation.
But Sputnik's slant is no secret. As the Atlantic Council has written, the presidential decree that founded Sputnik's parent company described the outlet's purpose as "reporting the state policy of the Russian Federation, and public life in the Russian Federation, abroad."
Asha Rangappa, a former FBI counterintelligence agent, noted that the FBI "stays away from REAL journalists."