CIA Continues Online Campaign to Recruit Russian Spies Citing Successes

CIA Continues Online Campaign to Recruit Russian Spies, Citing Successes – CBS News

The Central Intelligence Agency has released a third video aimed at recruiting Russian officials dissatisfied with their political leadership and other domestic elites. According to U.S. intelligence officials, this virtual effort helped the American spy agency contact potential sources inside Russia.

Speaking at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC on Monday, CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said the latest video was “basically an advertisement for people in Russia who are dissatisfied with the regime, who see a better future for Russia.” , one that is, frankly, “We can help them achieve this if they work for us.”

“One of the questions is how we should go about recruiting Russians,” Cohen continued, “so we released the third in a series of quite successful videos.”

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A CIA spokesman said the videos from the two previous campaigns, launched in 2022 and 2023, had been viewed more than 2.1 million times across multiple online platforms, including Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and X.

“We want people to know about the CIA, our mission and our history, but we also try to engage directly with sources,” the spokesman said, adding that the videos had led to “outreach.” but declined to provide further details about the size or credibility of the response or the resources required to produce the videos.

The latest video, with swelling instrumental music, is narrated by a fictional Russian official who quotes Tolstoy and says he hopes to give his son a better future in Russia. It ends with instructions for contacting the CIA safely online.

The CIA spokesman said all videos featured actors and were fictional.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the effort on Tuesday, saying “intelligence agencies around the world very often use the media and social networks to recruit new employees,” according to state agency TASS.

Peskov also downplayed the impact of publishing the videos on major American platforms such as X, formerly known as Twitter, which is banned in Russia.

“Someone needs to tell the CIA that VKontakte is much more popular in our country than the banned X and that VKontakte has a much larger audience,” Peskov said, referring to a Russian social media network.

The agency's campaign comes as the war in Ukraine enters its third year, there is little significant change on the front lines and U.S. military aid to Kiev has stalled due to a political dispute in Congress.

CIA Director William Burns, who has traveled to Kiev several times since Russia's invasion in 2022, previously said in a public appearance abroad last year that the conflict had led to a “unique” recruiting opportunity in Russia and that the agency was “very open.” for business”.