As War Rages in Ukraine, U.S. Intel Sees a Great Opportunity to Recruit Russian Spies Who Oppose the Regime’s Relentless Efforts of Destruction

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As public support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appears nonexistent, the CIA and FBI are recruiting Kremlin insiders who oppose the war. Last year, during a speech in the United Kingdom, CIA Director Bill Burns said, “Disaffection creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us.”

The Gateway Pundit spoke to James Olson, author and former chief of CIA counterintelligence. The former intelligence official said it’s not uncommon for the CIA and FBI to seek sources, especially sources who are displeased with the actions of their home country.

“That’s the name of the game for us,” Olson explained. “The CIA, in particular, is in the recruitment business, [and] we’re always looking for penetrations of foreign governments, specifically in their intelligence services.”

Olson is pleased that the CIA and FBI are getting more “aggressive” in recruiting spies. In his 2019 book, To Catch a Spy, he said that “counterintelligence that is passive and defensive will fail.” Thus, he has long advocated for America’s intel agencies to “be offensive.”

To find an asset, he argued, “We have to go to them and hit them hard.” According to him, “One of the aspects of being offensive is to do everything we can to penetrate them.” Because some may be “disgruntled and disenchanted,” Olson said, the recruitment of Russian foreign intelligence officers should be a top priority.

“Success can be found through the traditional means of the recruitment cycle,” he shared, referring to the process of spotting, assessing, developing, recruiting and handling an agent. But in addition to that, he suggested “we hang out the shingle and advertise, letting foreign intelligence officers know that U.S. counterintelligence is open and ready for service.”

Using video advertising is “perfect,” said Olson. When recruitment videos provide a secure line, he explained, “We’re giving them an avenue to come to us.” And according to him, “the timing is also perfect, [because] there are disillusioned Russians out there in the military, in the intelligence service, and in the diplomatic service who are very opposed to [Vladimir] Putin and are ashamed and angered by the war in Ukraine.”

The use of recruitment videos is “very provocative, in your face, and aggressive,” said Olson, adding that, “It’s okay to be obnoxious, if necessary, and take it right to them.”

“To find those who want to strike back and resist to bring down Putin and help the Ukrainian people,” Olson said, “it’s a brilliant approach to let them know the obvious way to do that is by cooperating with the CIA or the FBI.” It’s a means to seek those who have “any kind of a temptation to do something patriotic as they would see it for their country we’re finally providing a way to do it that’s long overdue,” he argued.

“Let them save some face and preserve their dignity in the process,” Olson said. “Your country has gone wrong and has done criminal acts led by an oppressive tyrant, and you can do something about it” should be the message the U.S. portrays, according to him.

In this process, Olson noted, U.S. intelligence officials are aware that Russia is probing to find out how the video recruitment process works. “They’re not only sending some ringers, but they’re actively trying to figure out how they can break into the communication channel,” he explained.

“When someone reaches out, they have to buy their way in, proving their ‘bona fides’ right up front,” he said. “They have to bring something to us that convinces us that they are not a potential double agent.”

“Something that is truly damaging to the other side is their ticket,” Olson pointed out. “They simply can’t come empty-handed.” He said what they bring to the table could include “secret plans, documentation of a weapons system, or anything harmful to the Russians if it were released.”

“It’s pay to play at its best,” concluded Olson.