Voice of America removes content from freelancer arrested for allegedly being Russian spy

VOA is federally funded and overseen by U.S. Agency for Global Media

Updated: March 8, 2022 - 8:53am

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The Voice of America news agency has removed content from a freelance journalist recently arrested on suspicion of being a spy for Russia and is "thoroughly reviewing" the submissions, according to a recent news report. 

The content by Pablo Gonzalez was removed from the federally funded news agency's website and social media accounts following his arrest in late February in Poland on espionage charges, the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday.

Polish authorities arrested Gonzalez on the suspicion that he was working for the Russian intelligence service, the GRU. They allege Gonzalez collected information from inside Poland and was planning to do the same in Ukraine.

The Spanish national born in Russia reportedly produced at least half a dozen pieces for VOA last year, most of them documenting action from the frontlines of the Nagorno-Karabakh war being fought between Azerbaijan and Armenia. 

The international security agency of Poland has accused Gonzalez of "conducting his business for Russia while taking advantage of his journalist status," according to the Beacon.

"He was never a VOA employee, nor did he have a contract directly with VOA," VOA spokesperson, Bridget Serchak said. "While VOA is currently unaware of any information that would confirm the allegations against this freelancer, out of an abundance of caution, VOA has removed all of Gonzalez's content from its websites and social media accounts and is thoroughly reviewing the stories.

In 2020, former CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA, Michael Pack told the Federalist that the outlet would be a "great place to put a foreign spy" because of its substandard security practices.