Former intelligence officer on how Russia recruits political spies
FSB Major General in reserve, Alexander Mikhailov, commented on the news that a CIA agent had been working in the Russian government for a long time.
Political spies are recruited by means of provocations and blackmail, major general of the FSB in reserve, ex-intelligence officer Alexander Mikhailov told Ura.Ru commenting on the news that a CIA agent had been working in the Russian government for decades.
“First, the intelligence agency finds out who knows the information they need. They look for certain personal qualities, who could become a traitor. Ideally, they want someone with access to information, family members, money or real estate abroad,” Mikhailov said.
The former intelligence officer explained that a potential spy could face measures like threats of criminal prosecution or seizure of real estate unless he agrees to cooperate.
“They may threaten to hurt their family. They may put forward demands that would not be refused because the person is greedy and has a certain attitude to the country,” Mikhailov added. According to the former intelligence officer, Russia should “purge the political apparatus”. Mikhailov said there are enough people who have relatives living abroad or foreign property among those who deal with strategic issues.
In September, CNN reported that a CIA agent who worked in the government had been evacuated from Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the CIA should comment on the information. The New York Times reported that it could be Oleg Smolenkov, a former presidential affairs officer, recruited several decades ago. Smolenkov and his family left Russia for Montenegro on vacation two years ago and never returned. The presidential affairs did not comment on the information back then.