FBI uses social media to recruit Russians for intel gathering - report
The FBI attempts to recruit Russians on social media to lure citizens to collaborate with the US.
The FBI is turning to social media to recruit Russians for intelligence gathering as the war in Ukraine continues with no end in sight, according to Fox News.
Scenes from the US capital and the Russian embassy are seen in a video shared on Facebook and Twitter, as a voice speaking in Russian warns the listener that the FBI can change their future if they supply intelligence to the US.
According to the narrator, the FBI is hunting for spies, exiles, and anyone with information on how to resist the Kremlin.
"Do you want to change your future?" Alan Kohler from the FBI’s counterintelligence division questions while speaking in English directly to the camera. "The FBI values you. The FBI can help you, but only you have the power to take the first step."
FBI starts recruiting spies by ad— MARIA (@its_maria012) April 8, 2023
Videos have surfaced on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter of Alan Kohler of the FBI's counterintelligence division telling viewers that the FBI can change their future if they can provide intelligence to the US. pic.twitter.com/BIrO7GDZTC
After more than a year of war in Ukraine and heightened geopolitical tensions with the West, the FBI appears to have initiated its social media initiative in February in an attempt to urge Russians to move away from the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin's hostility, according to Fox News.
Former CIA Moscow station chief Dan Hoffman told Fox News that the social media message was "sharp" and "smart," adding that it may "help the FBI and the country prevail against that Russian aggression."
However, Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency intel officer for Russian Doctrine & Strategy and a native Russian speaker, told Fox News Digital that the video was flawed and that the narrator's commentary did not always make sense, which she claimed "undermines the FBI's credibility."
Koffler also questioned how the FBI will be able to allocate the resources required to adequately evaluate all of the new callers.
"The FBI is operationalizing this new method for several reasons. First, it is extremely difficult to recruit Russian assets," she explained. "Russia is a super hard environment because its counterintelligence services are one of the most effective in the world."
"The FBI is reacting to the modern times when young people are constantly on social media. It’s trying to cast a wide net and get a bigger bang for the buck, attracting more potential candidates to spy for the US," Koffler continued.
However, the former DIA intelligence officer has little faith in the government's ability to implement such a program properly. "I wish them luck, but my confidence level in this program being successful is almost zero," Koffler added.
The FBI's Washington field office has urged anyone with sensitive information about Russian intelligence or defense to come forward.