(NewsNation) — Jack Barsky spent more than a decade working as a KGB agent, just like Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, unlike Putin, he was stationed in the United States posing as an American. Barsky is a former sleeper agent and spied on the U.S. from 1978 to 1988.
After living a lie for 10 years, Barsky was caught by the FBI.
He became a resource for U.S. counterintelligence agencies and is now an American citizen living in Atlanta.
Barsky joined NewsNation’s “Banfield” to offer insight on how Putin became the man he is today.
“It was not predictable that he would become who he is.”
Barsky said that it wasn’t until Putin became the president of Russia, more than 20 years ago, that he started spouting his new ideology.
Manipulating, playing chess and networking were some of the “talents” Putin had, according to Barsky.
Barsky recalls that early on, Putin started talking about rebuilding the Russian empire.
Initially, the talk was very soft, he said.
“It was a slow, very methodical process in the direction of what he is doing now. He is convinced that some higher power has selected him to restore the greatness of Russia, that actually never was, only in his mind.”
Barsky doesn’t believe Russia is actually sending “illegals” anymore.
“You wouldn’t, but you understand, folks like me were very rare. In the late ’70s or early ’80s, the KGB actually trained and sent to the United States only 10 of us. This kind of a job is extremely difficult and was very expensive to maintain.”