A Russian mole has been uncovered inside NATO intelligence. What does this mean for Western security?
Last weekend, in the latest development in the secret espionage struggle between Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin and the West, a major Russian spy was arrested in Italy. On Saturday, Frederico Carvalhão Gil, a senior intelligence official from Portugal, was picked up by Italian police along with his Russian intelligence handler, whom he was meeting clandestinely in Rome.
Although Portugal is hardly a big player in the global spy game, it has been a member of the Atlantic Alliance since its founding in 1949, and Lisbon’s intelligence services are full members of the West’s secret spy network. Finding a mole like Mr. Carvalhão in any NATO security service is a serious matter for the whole alliance.
A career intelligence officer, the 57-year-old Mr. Carvalhão, who went into the espionage business in the late 1980s, had risen to the senior ranks of Portugal’s domestic spy agency, the Security Intelligence Service—SIS for short. He is a division chief in that service, according to Portuguese press reports, what SIS terms an area director. Mr. Carvalhão’s previous assignments have included operational work in counterintelligence and counterterrorism. A philosophy graduate, the suspected traitor is described as highly intelligent—an intellectual. It’s evident Mr. Carvalhão had access to a wide array of NATO secrets thanks to his official position.
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