The CIA’s deputy director of intelligence made his first public appearance this week and used the opportunity to say the agency is looking to recruit Russians who are unhappy with the war in Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal Reported Tuesday.
David Marlowe, who took his post in June 2021, said that the CIA is “looking around the world” for Russians who are “disgusted” with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. “Because we’re open for business,” he said.
Former CIA officials have said that the agency is seeking to recruit military officers and oligarchs who have had their finances impacted by Western sanctions on Russia. The agency has also made public efforts to recruit Russians inside Russia earlier in the war.
The CIA has set up a website on the dark web for potential spies to make contact using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which allow users to circumvent geographic internet restrictions. Back in May, the CIA released instructions in Russian on how to access the site on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media sites.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the US has increased the funding of VPN companies in an effort aimed at people inside Russia, so they could access Voice of America, a US state-funded media outlet that Putin has banned.
The funding of the VPN companies is done through the Open Technology Fund (OTF), a non-profit funded by the US government that Washington uses to support protesters around the world by giving them tools to avoid surveillance and get around internet censorship.