America’s Central Intelligence Agency just released a new video campaign to target Russians to give them intel on the War in Ukraine.
CIA’s Campaign to Get Secret Intelligence about the War
In an unprecedented move, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a new campaign to capitalize on the current situation in Russia, particularly the war in Ukraine, aiming to convince disenchanted Russians to share valuable secrets.
The CIA established a dedicated channel on Telegram, a highly popular social media platform in Russia known for its unfiltered news. The agency first released the video on Telegram with instructions on how to contact the CIA anonymously, and is being posted across social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
CIA officials involved in the project said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine created a historic opportunity for Russians to provide crucial information to the United States.
The CIA was successful in a previous recruitment drive after the invasion, stating that some secret contacts are already established. A CIA official stated, “We understand you, maybe better than you think. We wanted to convey to Russians in their own language that we know what they’re going through.”
“Not Intended to Incite Unrest”
The CIA emphasized that the video is not intended to incite unrest or exacerbate tensions among the general population, as Russian President Vladimir Putin still maintains significant support.
Instead, the focus is on individuals who may be on the fence and wants to “demystify” the process of contacting the CIA. The video does not mention Putin or the Ukraine war explicitly, as it draws on “timeless” themes that have historically motivated disaffected Russians to reach out to the agency.
The emotional two-minute video appeals to Russian patriotism and addresses doubts, lack of purpose, and oppression the CIA believes Russians are currently experiencing.
Watch the video:
CIA Director William Burns, in a recent speech, stated, “[Putin’s] military continues to suffer heavy losses in manpower and materiel. Disaffection with the war will continue to gnaw away at the Russian leadership beneath the steady diet of state propaganda and practiced repression.”
The CIA’s Target Audience
The target audience for the video includes Russians, both within Russia and abroad, who could possess valuable information to share, and are believed to number in the thousands or even tens of thousands and work in fields such as cybersecurity, technology, finance, the military, and diplomacy.
CIA’s Director of Operations, David Marlowe, stated since the war began US intelligence community has been “open for business,” actively seeking Russians who share disapproval over the conflict.
A former CIA head of counterintelligence, James Olson, commended the agency’s social media efforts, expressing it’s potentially the most opportune time to recruit Russians.
While the CIA focuses on recruiting Russians overseas, the FBI has undertaken a parallel project aimed at Russians residing in the United States, specifically targeting individuals entering and leaving the Russian embassy in Washington.
In response to the campaign, the Russian embassy tweeted that attempts to incite confusion and organize desertion among its staff are baseless.
James Olson emphasized the CIA’s inclusive approach, stating, “Let’s spread the net as widely as possible; we’ll take everybody. We can offer them protection. We can offer them security. We can offer them full anonymity. And we can offer them a package that corresponds to the value of the information they’re providing.”
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