UK, US Give Russian Espionage Warnings
With Moscow's voice becoming increasingly boisterous on the international stage, both the US and British counterintelligence agencies are warning that increased Russian espionage activity is posing a serious challenge to national security. Senior counterintelligence officials in the UK are comparing the current level of Russian activity to that of Cold War levels.

Since March this year, there have been several high-level warnings issued both in Washington and London about what intelligence sources say is a sustained attempt by the Kremlin to increase its foreign intelligence-gathering activities. Although intelligence officials have previously expressed concern about this issue for several years, this is the first time that the gravity of the situation has led top counterintelligence experts to come to this conclusion about the current level of Russian espionage.

The first high-level comment on what is regarded as an escalating problem came in late March when Joel Brenner, the US National Counterintelligence Executive, warned members of the American Bar Association that Moscow is now apparently intent on penetrating what he described as the "upper echelon of US decision-making". This appears to be in sharp contrast to previous Russian strategy, which was to focus primarily on the theft of advanced technology and other classified data.

Moreover, Brenner also said that the number of Russian intelligence officers serving with either the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) or Military Intelligence (GRU) has risen significantly. He observed: "They are sending over an increasing and troubling number of intelligence agents."

This disclosure is likely to herald the launch of a major US counterintelligence campaign to uncover Russian intelligence assets operating on US soil.

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© 2007 Jane's Information Group
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