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Russian Intelligence is Behind the Snowden Show: German Intelligence

November 5, 2013

As I’ve noted at length already, the drama surrounding the continuing leaks of classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency, care of the defector Edward Snowden, has now taken center stage in Germany. Which is not altogether surprising because Germany is such a close partner with the United States in security and other matters, and also because a significant component of the Wikileaks apparat lives in Berlin.

To anyone versed in counterintelligence, specifically the modus operandi of Russian security services, the Snowden Operation* is a classic case of Active Measures, in other words a secret propaganda job. That its ultimate objective is fracturing the Western security and intelligence alliance is made increasing clear in the tone of the reporting coming from the Operation, especially its German mouthpiece, the newsmagazine Der Spiegel. Relying on fronts, cut-outs, “independent” journalists, plus platoons of what Lenin memorably termed Useful Idiots, is just what the Kremlin’s intelligence services do when they want to engage in Active Measures. We’ve been down this road before – in many ways what’s going on now is merely a replay of the operational game from the 1970s based on the CIA defector Phil Agee (KGB covername: PONT), but with broadband access – yet the Snowden Operation is unusually successful and brazen, even by Moscow’s high standards in this regard.

This is also the conclusion of the German security services, based on a new report in the Berlin daily Die Welt. The recent Moscow visit of the leftist Green Party parliamentarian Hans-Christian Ströbele with Snowden caused a global sensation. It was also transparently the work of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Noting the stage-managed aspect of the photo op, “There is no doubt that this was a room that was prepared by the intelligence service,” concluded a German senior intelligence official, adding that this was “a typical FSB room ” – meaning fully wired. To expand on Die Welt‘s reportage:

The three-hour conversation had been recorded in this room with microphones and video cameras. After analyzing the course of the visit, German security experts came to the conclusion that the FSB completely organized and monitored Ströbele’s visit to Moscow, and effectively used it for its purposes. The goal of the visit had been to rekindle the debate about the NSA spying affair, thus burdening relations between Germany and the United States even more. “This is playing into the hands of Russia,” said the intelligence official, criticizing Ströbele’s action. That the Green Party official allowed himself to be used by Russia for that country’s interests was to be regarded as “borderline,” he explained.

The Snowden Operation is far from over, and more German-related Active Measures are to be expected. That said, it’s somewhat reassuring that, no matter what politicians may say, German intelligence is at least aware of the real game that’s afoot here.

*Until some future Vasili Mitrokhin tells us what Edward Snowden’s actual FSB covername is, I’ll be terming what’s going on the Snowden Operation (Операция Сноудена).

29 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Mindweapons in Ragnarok and commented:
    Active Measures (Russian: Активные мероприятия) was a form of political warfare conducted by the Soviet security services (Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, KGB) to influence the course of world events, “in addition to collecting intelligence and producing politically correct assessment of it”.[1] Active measures ranged “from media manipulations to special actions involving various degrees of violence”. They were used both abroad and domestically. They included disinformation, propaganda, counterfeiting official documents, assassinations, and political repression, such as penetration in churches, and persecution of political dissidents.[1]

    Active measures included the establishment and support of international front organizations (e.g. the World Peace Council); foreign communist, socialist and opposition parties; wars of national liberation in the Third World; and underground, revolutionary, insurgency, criminal, and terrorist groups.[1] The intelligence agencies of Eastern Bloc states also contributed to the program, providing operatives and intelligence for assassinations and other types of covert operations.[1]

    Retired KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin described active measures as “the heart and soul of Soviet intelligence”: “Not intelligence collection, but subversion: active measures to weaken the West, to drive wedges in the Western community alliances of all sorts, particularly NATO, to sow discord among allies, to weaken the United States in the eyes of the people of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and thus to prepare ground in case the war really occurs.”[2]

    Active measures was a system of special courses taught in the Andropov Institute of KGB situated at SVR headquarters in Yasenevo, near Moscow. The head of “active measures department” was Yuri Modin, former controller of the Cambridge Five spy ring.[1]

  2. I love Big Brother. Oceania is at war with Eurasia. East Asia is our ally.

  3. soren permalink

    “German intelligence is at least aware of the real game that’s afoot here.”

    That the US wants Europe to be it’s vassal state? Russia has left Europe, why haven’t we?

  4. Yeah, Snowden just revealed that the UK is spying on Germany. I think Germany will change her tune, being screwed by the Anglo-Americans.

    • not an idiot permalink

      I hate to break it to you but the Germans are also spying on the UK. and the Americans for that matter. Everybody is spying on everybody – this is what spy agencies do – it’s their reason for existing. You are extremely naive if you think there are state agencies not spying on their ‘allies’. The governments all know it – they may gripe in public to appease their public – but they know. Anyway, this is a good (old) read, it should be obvious to anyone with common sense that Snowden is FSB.

  5. Reblogged this on oogenhand.

  6. I blogrolled this one !

    ps: I give up : What was the second Russian word ? The first was “Operation”, and I’m guessing the 2nd wouldn’t translate, because it’s a proper name. :)

    Probably the name of the SVR/FSB agent running the action.

  7. Hai-eee ! I was mistaken !!

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