The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) wants to recruit “courageous Russians.”
The agency on Tuesday launched a Telegram channel in an effort to attract Russians who wish to share information about the “truth about Russia.” Its inaugural post is a not-so-subtle recruitment video.
“Our global mission demands that individuals can reach us safely and securely from anywhere,” said Tammy Kupperman Thorp, CIA’s Director of Public Affairs. “Telegram is an additional tool to communicate with people, no matter where they are.”
Telegram is a popular messaging app that is known for its security and privacy features. The app is not blocked in most countries, making it a valuable tool for the CIA to reach individuals in countries with restrictive governments.
The CIA’s Telegram channel is the latest in a series of efforts by the agency to reach out to the public. In recent years, the CIA has launched social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The agency has also produced a number of videos and articles that are designed to educate the public about its work.
Tymofiy Mylovanov, Ukraine’s former minister of economy and currently president of the Kyiv School of Economics and adviser to the Zelensky administration, applauded the agency’s recent effort, saying that “the video is not propaganda. Instead, it uses a set of recruitment techniques that nudge people.” Mylovanov also posted a breakdown of the video content in a thread.
The video encouraged Russian to contact the agency securely via The Onion Router (TOR), a system for private, anonymous communication, and then pointed viewers to another video that shows how to use TOR.
While it is a significant, novel effort for the CIA, it remains to be seen how effective the new Telegram channel will be.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, has warned potential spies and defectors that it’s watching. It said on Tuesday that its agencies were tracking Western spy activity. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov snubbed the video but said that he is “convinced that our special services are monitoring this space in the necessary way.”
“We all know perfectly well that the CIA and other Western intelligence services are not reducing their activity on the territory of our country,” he added.
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