The Central Intelligence Agency has launched a new initiative to recruit spies within the borders of the Russian Federation, rolling out a media campaign to lure Russian nationals to provide valuable intelligence to the United States.
On Monday, the CIA launched a channel on Telegram, a popular messenger app for individuals seeking uncensored news in countries with highly restricted media. The channel, called “Securely Contacting CIA,” that has a number of Russian-language posts targeting citizens of the vast Slavic federation, promises to protect the safety of informants.
“Our global mission demands that individuals can reach us safely and securely from anywhere. Telegram is an additional tool to communicate with people, no matter where they are,” said Tammy Kupperman Thorp, CIA’s director of Public Affairs.
The agency also released a short video encouraging Russians to step forward with information for U.S. authorities. In the video, titled “Why I Contacted the CIA: My Decision,” several individuals are portrayed in a mix of scenes depicting home life and work in a high-security Russian workplace, presumably connected to the operations of the national government.
The narration describes how informants can help cleanse the conscience of Russia and merit greater international respect for their country, and the video assures the viewer that the family members and loved ones of informants will be safe. The video concludes by outlining the process by which Russian nationals can communicate with American intelligence via Tor, a software which facilitates secure, clandestine communication.
An official involved in the program spoke with OAN on the condition of anonymity, providing further context for the initiative. The official emphasized that the program was not intended to cause civil unrest within Russia, but rather to communicate to the minority of closeted dissidents with significant apprehensions about the state of Russian politics.
Despite significant reports of war weariness in the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin remains personally popular. Public opinion polling has consistently shown Putin with overwhelming support with the most recent polling showing the president with 83% approval.
Notably absent from the video is any explicit mention of the ongoing war in Ukraine, which the aforementioned CIA official said would be “redundant,” claiming that Russia’s invasion of its blue-and-yellow-bannered neighbor was “a symptom of something larger.”
“We understand you, maybe better than you think… We wanted to convey to Russians in their own language we know what they’re going through,” said the official, who asked to stay anonymous in order to discuss the sensitive project.
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