In an unusual attempt at public outreach ‘spy-style’, the world’s most powerful intelligence organization is openly encouraging Russians to spy on their own country.
The CIA released a nearly 2-minute video Monday on its official YouTube, Twitter, and Telegram channels. The Russian-language, professionally produced video urges individual Russians to provide intelligence on their country in the midst of the Ukraine war. Watch:
The video has a ‘patriotic’ orientation, assuring Russians they can do something to improve their country and its situation by handing over intelligence to the CIA.
“The CIA wants to know the truth about Russia, and we are looking for reliable people who can tell us that truth,” the agency said in the video, according to a translation. “Your information may be more valuable than you know.”
The text on the screen of the clip further tells Russians to “Contact us. Perhaps the people around you don’t want to hear the truth. We want to.”
Some of the narration includes the following messaging, according to a description:
In the video – published on the CIA’s official YouTube channel and the Telegram messaging app, popular in Russia – a male voice reflects on the meaning of heroism and endurance as lone individuals are seen weighing their decisions: a man trudging through snow, a woman staring through a window.
“We are easily swayed by lies. But we do know what our reality is. The reality we live in. And the reality we talk about in whispers,” the voice says.
At the end, a man and a woman are shown in separate scenes with their fingers hovering over mobile phone screens with a link saying “Contact CIA”.
“This is my Russia. This will always be my Russia. I will endure. My family will endure. We will live with dignity because of my actions,” the narrator concludes.
The video at the end informs viewers how to submit information with a Tor browser utilizing the dark web and suggests tools for encrypted communications.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a daily briefing was asked about the CIA’s asset recruitment efforts. He responded, “I am convinced that our special services are monitoring this space in the necessary way.”
He added: “We all know perfectly well that the CIA and other Western intelligence services are not reducing their activity on the territory of our country.”