He drank too much, abandoned his sick, aged mother and — most important of all for Russia in its own account of the man portrayed in the United States as a highly valued spy burrowed deep into the Kremlin — he had no contact whatsoever with President Vladimir Putin.

Just hours after The New York Times and other US news outlets this week detailed how an unnamed Russian informant helped the CIA conclude that Putin ordered and orchestrated a campaign of interference in the 2016 US election, Russia fired up its propaganda machine to provide an entirely different picture of

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