The CIA has reportedly released a professionally produced video to multiple social media platforms aimed at recruiting Russian citizens – specifically military officials, intelligence agents, diplomats, and scientists – to reveal information about their country’s economy and government.
The CIA has reportedly released a professionally produced video to multiple social media platforms aimed at recruiting Russian citizens – specifically military officials, intelligence agents, diplomats, and scientists – to reveal information about their country’s economy and government.1
The two-minute video — made in Russia and first published on Telegram on Monday — was also posted to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. It depicts fictional Russian officials covertly contacting the CIA via the agency’s secure portal on the dark web.2
Captioned “Why I made contact with the CIA: My decision,” the video uses dramatic music and suspense to set the stage for a Russian official staring at a picture of his family before contacting the CIA. It also appeals to a strong Russian identity as the man contemplates, “Is it the kind of life I dreamt of?” combined with platitudes about heroism.2
This is just the latest report of US intelligence attempting to recruit disillusioned Russians, as it used a text-based campaign to recruit them last year. A CIA official said the recruitment was successful and that the agency “would not be pursuing” similar action without prior success. However, the official didn’t mention how many Russians have allegedly contacted the CIA.3
David Marlowe, the CIA’s director of operations, said that the US is “open for business” and wants to show Russians “disgusted” with the situation how to reach out. The FBI has also engaged in similar recruitment projects.4
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he hasn’t paid attention to the video but is confident in the way Russia’s special services “are monitoring this space,” with Moscow saying on Tuesday that it's watching Western spy activities.5
Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by TASS. The Russian people are far too smart to be persuaded by these dramatized videos that are part of the continued efforts of the US to spread propaganda in Russia. This campaign will not be effective, and Russia will keep taking the necessary steps to counteract US aggression.
Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by Thread Reader. This CIA video is a brilliant appeal to truth and a plea for earnest Russians to follow their conscience. Many Russians know the war in Ukraine is wrong, and they face an internal struggle between so-called patriotism and yearning for peace. This video shows that a Russian can work with American intelligence agencies while being patriotic and working for a better future.
Narrative C, as provided by The Daily Beast. Besides the incredible double-standards of the US that schemes like this reveal, they're unlikely to have any success. Such a brazen plot not only risks scaring off some would-be informants who may be weary of a digital operation or suspect a Russian trap, but will also only spur Russia to ramp up its own counterintelligence efforts, making it harder to recruit assets.