One government’s trash is another government’s treasure. At least that seems to be the thinking of David Marlowe, the CIA’s deputy director of operations, who is using Russia’s botched invasion of Ukraine as a way to possibly recruit new spies to the agency from among the ranks of Vladimir Putin’s progressively disillusioned top officials.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Putin’s failure has opened up a rare opportunity for his agency to recruit Kremlin insiders to share what they know about their increasingly unhinged leader. As Warren P. Strobel wrote:
David Marlowe, the Central Intelligence Agency’s deputy director of operations, told an academic audience that the invasion of Ukraine has been a massive failure for Russian President Vladimir Putin and opens opportunities for Western intelligence agencies among disaffected Russians.
“Putin was at his best moment the day before he invaded,” when he still had the ability to coerce Ukraine, influence NATO, and demonstrate that Russia is a powerful nation, Mr. Marlowe said at George Mason University’s Hayden Center. “He squandered every single bit of that.”
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“We’re looking around the world for Russians who are as disgusted with that as we are,” he said. “Because we’re open for business.”
Marlowe is hardly the first CIA official to suggest that the current situation in Russia has provided what Strobel described as “fertile ground” to recruit new agents.
The Hayden Center posted a full video of the event, which was centered on the “CIA at 75.” You can watch the full conversation below (the comments about Russia begin around the 33:50 mark).
(Via The Wall Street Journal)