CIA turns to social media to recruit Russian spies

  • A new Russian-language video gives instructions on how to contact the CIA
  • The new approach doesn't mean the agency is abandoning stealth
  • The video is also designed to throw Putin off his game

(NewsNation) — A new CIA campaign is seeking Russian informants in a campaign that is anything but covert.

The CIA’s new channel on Telegram encourages Russian citizens to contact them, with instructions for anonymous and secure communication in a Russian-language video.

The effort to recruit spies isn’t exactly subtle, so what is the goal of such a public campaign?

Former CIA operator Mike Baker said a public campaign doesn’t mean the agency is ceasing covert operations regarding Russia.

“It’s using every tool in the kit bag,” he said told NewsNation.

The agency is attempting to add new tools, including social media, to its arsenal. Baker said the target for such a campaign isn’t high-level individuals in government.

“It’s a psychological game,” he said. “It’s designed to maybe change some hearts and minds, maybe get some people thinking, maybe get Putin a little on edge.”

The video makes it clear the CIA is aware of internal divisions in Russia and hoping to exploit them. It’s a high-risk gamble for Russians to work with the U.S.

The move comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin has become increasingly insular, reducing the number of people who could supply intelligence on the leader.


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