The US spy agency wants to recruit disgruntled Russian officials and businessmen
The CIA is interested in recruiting Russians “disgusting” with the conflict in Ukraine, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. The claim was made by deputy director of operations David Marlowe at a recent meeting at a Washington-area think tank.
“We’re looking all over the world for Russians who are just as disgusted by it as we are,” Marlowe reportedly said, referring to current events in Ukraine. “Because we are open for business.”
Marlowe spoke “for a select audience of university lecturers and employees” at the Hayden Center of George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. The “CIA at 75” event was its first public appearance since taking office in June 2021, according to the WSJ. Although the event was held last week, the Hayden Center made video of it public on Monday.
CIA deputy director for analysis Linda Weissgold, described as responsible for preparing completed intelligence reports for President Joe Biden and the rest of the U.S. leadership, also sat on the panel, along with the agency’s former acting director Michael Morrell.
Marlowe, appointed by current CIA director William Burns, speaks Arabic and has expertise in the Near and Middle East. According to him, Russian President Vladimir Putin “wasted” all his power and influence through “invade” Ukraine in February. He described the conflict as a huge failure for Moscow and said it presented opportunities for Western intelligence agencies to recruit disgruntled Russians.
The announcement follows several instances in which Western intelligence agencies have attempted to approach Russian personnel serving abroad, Moscow said.
Last month, Moscow summoned the Dutch ambassador because of reports that a British spy had tried to recruit a Russian military attaché in The Hague. Earlier this year, the Kremlin denounced US attempts to bribe Russian diplomats “very rude behavior” and “unacceptable.”
The Hayden Center was founded in 2017 by retired United States Air Force General Michael V. Hayden, several months after becoming a CNN contributor. Hayden led the National Security Agency (NSA) from 1999-2005 and the CIA from 2006-2009, through such controversies as waterboarding, torture of terrorism suspects, and unauthorized mass surveillance of Americans.
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