May 16, 2023, 10:26am EDT
securityNorth America

CIA appeals to disillusioned Russians in spy recruitment video

A still from a CIA Russian-language recruitment video.

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The News

The CIA is trying to attract new Russian spies by appealing to citizens disillusioned by Moscow’s war in Ukraine, posting a new recruitment video on its official channels on Monday.

The Russian-language video asks people to “contact us,” adding: “Perhaps the people around you don’t want to hear the truth. We want to.”

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Know More

The video has also been posted to the CIA’s YouTube page and on Telegram, a messaging app and social media platform that is popular in Russia. Speaking to CNN, an unnamed official with the CIA said that the agency “wanted to convey to Russians in their own language [that] we know what they’re going through.”

The goal, the official said, is to target well-connected Russians who may be on the fence about their country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and convince them to share sensitive information with the U.S.

This is the most recent attempt by the CIA to appeal to Russians who may want to leak state secrets. Last year, the CIA posted instructions online in Russian with details on how to securely contact them.

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The View From Moscow

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Reuters that while he had not seen the video directly, he was certain that Russian intelligence were “monitoring this space in the necessary way.”

He added that Russia is aware that the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies have not backed down from surveilling the country.

Some Russians have expressed concern that the video is actually being circulated by Russia’s Federal Security Service, Reuters noted.