The CIA has launched a new effort to capitalize on what US intelligence officials believe is an “unprecedented” opportunity to recruit Russian spies.
A recruitment video was posted online to convince Russians disaffected by the war in Ukraine and life in Russia to share their secrets.
CIA Director William Burns said in July that disaffection among some Russians over the war in Ukraine was creating a rare opportunity to recruit spies, and that the CIA was not letting it pass.
The video in Russian entitled “Why I made contact with the CIA – for myself”. It shows what is clearly supposed to be a Russian official walking through the snow of what looks like a Russian city.
“I insisted to everyone that it was unscrupulous to distort the truth in reports but those who rose through the ranks were those who did that very thing,” the voice over says in Russian.
“Before I believed that the truth had some value,” the video shows as the actor playing a Russian official enters a Russian government building and shows his pass above the double-headed eagle of Russia.
“Those around you may not want to hear the truth. But we do,” the video says before detailing ways to contact the CIA, which is based in Langley, Virginia. “Integrity has rewards.”
The CIA released a new recruiting video targeting employees of the Russian security services and the military.pic.twitter.com/iHmT9wwnQh
— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) September 7, 2023
The emotional video shows different Russians going about their lives, appearing to contemplate major decisions. The theme of family runs throughout, showing a young girl in a hospital bed with a lady who appears to be her mother.
The target audience is clear: a woman works at what appears to be a government computer and a man walks into a government building, flashes his ID before sitting at a desk full of files.
CIA officials believe there is an opening to recruit Russian spies
CIA officials involved in the project said –according to CNN — that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a historic opening “to have Russians come to us and deliver information the United States needs.”
It also comes after a previous recruitment drive following the launch of the invasion that the officials said has been successful, with “contact coming in.”
The message, one official told CNN, that they hope Russians who work in sensitive fields with access to valuable information now hear is: “We understand you, maybe better than you think.”
“We wanted to convey to Russians in their own language we know what they’re going through,” added the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive project.
The official insisted the video is “absolutely not” meant to be incendiary or fuel unrest among the broader population.