CIA to recruit spies among Russians opposing Ukraine war
'We're looking around the world for Russians who are as disgusted with that as we are'
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is seeking to recruit agents among Russians who are “disgusted” with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the CIA’s deputy director of operations David Marlowe said on Tuesday.
Speaking to academics at George Mason University’s Hayden Center, Marlowe said that Western intelligence agencies should use Russian dissidents, who oppose the Ukraine war.
"We're looking around the world for Russians who are as disgusted with that as we are, because we're open for business," he said.
The official, who took the stage together with CIA Deputy Director for Analysis Linda Weissgold, added that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was “at his best moment” before the invasion” but has “squandered every single bit” of his influence on NATO, Ukraine and world politics.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Marlowe’s statement corresponds with comments made by former senior CIA officers who claimed that Putin’s invasion prepared the ground for recruiting new agents among displeased Russian businessmen, dissidents and even army officials.
Russian media earlier reported that since the beginning of the year Western countries expelled over 550 Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage, while Moscow in response expelled over 300 foreigners.
In September, Russia sentenced former defense journalist Ivan Safronov to 22 years in prison for alleged treason. He was accused of selling state secrets to foreign intelligence.