The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has launched a new campaign on Telegram that aims to take advantage of what US intelligence officials say is an “unprecedented” chance to persuade Russians disillusioned with the war in Ukraine and life in Russia to share classified information, writes CNN.
This initiative includes a new CIA channel on Telegram, a messenger with social networking features that is very popular in russia as a source of uncensored news. It already had posted a professionally shot video to recruit russians. The video contains instructions on how to communicate anonymously and securely with the CIA. It was originally posted on Telegram, but later duplicated on other social networks such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
CIA officials who worked on the project said that russia’s invasion of Ukraine provided a historic opportunity “to have russians come to us and deliver information the United States needs.” This followed a successful previous recruitment campaign launched in response to the invasion, which resulted in new contacts.
The CIA recruitment video targets a large group of russians, potentially in the thousands or even tens of thousands both inside and outside of Russia, who may possess valuable information. This group includes individuals who are outside the traditional sphere of rivalry between American and russian intelligence and security services. These are professionals in such fields as cyber security, technology, finance, military affairs and diplomacy.
Many of these potential informants may not know how to contact the CIA, or may not even realize that the information they possess is of interest, officials said. The CIA says the success of previous efforts over the past year to reach out to the russians was encouraging enough to launch a more public campaign with the release of the recruitment video.