The birds were put to work patrolling the seas as part of a six-month academic study that proved successful in detecting fishing boats with their Automatic Identification System switched off.
The unnamed informant's family reportedly suffered under Islamic State rule prompting him to seek revenge, General Mazloum Abdi said.
The official, since named by Russian media, had reportedly been supplying intelligence to the U.S. for decades.
Media reports say Oleg Smolenkov left Moscow with his family and may have moved to Washington DC.
U.S. Southern Command has been testing as many as 25 balloons over the Midwest, which can float at 65,000 feet and capture video of whole cities.
Kim Dong Chul was one of three American citizens released from North Korean prisons and returned to the U.S. in 2018.
Vladimir Padrino Lopez refused to back the uprising and has remained loyal to President Nicolas Maduro.
The radical approach to turncoats has split the intelligence community. "Don't think I didn't know that people would choke on this," says David Charney, a CIA-connected psychiatrist.
Whelan was detained on December 28 after having traveled to Russia to allegedly attend a wedding.
"The U.S. side has not contacted the Russian side on that matter any more," a Kremlin spokesperson said.
The arrest happened shortly after Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the U.S. by attempting to infiltrate Republican political circles on behalf of the Russian government.
Maria Butina has agreed to cooperate with investigators and provide information about Russian government efforts to infiltrate GOP political circles.
Intelligence officers have been investigating the senior civil servant since last March.
The 1993 killing of Freddie Woodruff, the CIA branch chief in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, left unanswered questions. Texas lawyer Michael Pullara talks to Newsweek about his work to uncover the truth about Woodruff's death.
"Your work defending your client needs to happen in this courtroom, not on the public airwaves," a judge told Maria Butina's lawyer.
Accused Russian agent Maria Butina managed to weave herself into a web of conservative business dealings, including a jet fuel deal with the wife of the former National Rifle Association president.
China claimed the disputed Spratly Islands as its own and told a U.S. Navy spy plane flying over to "avoid any misunderstanding."
Russia has constantly stoked fears about the web, which President Vladimir Putin regards as a CIA invention.
Police did not charge the man with a crime as he didn't manage to capture any footage.
The drones are so convincing that other birds fly beside them.
"Do you know Russian? Are you an [sic] US citizen with a college degree? Do you have an interest in serving your country?"
The president's attacks on the U.S. intelligence community have cast CIA and FBI leaders into the unprecedented role of public "truth tellers."