Russian Role in CIA Agent's Murder Probed

Questions linger over 1993 killing as Georgia's geopolitical significance surges
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2008 8:41 AM CDT
A headshot of Georgian politician Eduard Shevardnadze, October 1986. Woodruff was in a jeep with Shevardnadze's head of security when he was struck by a bullet.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The first shot of a new cold war with Russia may have been fired into a CIA station chief's head in 1993, the Wall Street Journal reports. A vodka-swilling villager was swiftly jailed for the killing of Freddie Woodruff, the top US spy in newly independent Georgia, but that man, rotting in a Tbilisi jail today, says he was framed, and key witnesses have since changed their testimony.

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Georgia this August, the Journal reexamines evidence that the murder 15 years ago was an early warning for America to stay out of Georgia. They point to a visit KGB mole Aldrich Ames paid to Woodruff shortly before the shooting, and reports of a mysterious mercenary who bragged of the killing. A handful of Americans, including Woodruff's sister and a stubborn Texas lawyer, are still looking for answers. The FBI, meanwhile, says only that its investigation is "pending."