Russian agent in German intelligence undermined the confidence of the allies – media

Irina Pogorelaya19:57, 19.02.23

According to the magazine Der Spiegel, the FSB spy was supposed to find out the exact location in Ukraine of the American Himars and the Berlin-supplied Iris-T air defense system.

At the end of last year , an employee of the German foreign intelligence service was arrested in Germany and accused of spying for the Russian Federation, and a month later his accomplice was arrested.

These arrests come after a string of arrests of Russian spies in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Poland and Slovenia. At the same time, as the BBC reports , this turn of events puzzled Germany’s allies.

The allies were concerned about the fact that the spy worked for one of Europe’s largest intelligence services, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, from which a stream of secret information flowed to the Kremlin. Because of this, the US, UK and other European countries have reduced the amount of intelligence they share with Germany.

The publication noted that the arrest of the Russian spy’s accomplice was made possible thanks to the efforts of the FBI, which collected the necessary evidence. 

As noted by the publication, the accomplice of the spy is a naturalized citizen of Germany. He was born in Russia, and in the 1990s he moved with his parents to Germany, where he even served in the army.

The spy and his accomplice met back in 2021 in Bavaria.

The spy himself headed a division of the foreign intelligence service responsible for cybersecurity and surveillance of electronic communications and had access to the personal files of the agency’s employees. This department provides up to half of the data that the service collects daily.  

According to the historian of the foreign intelligence service Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, potentially the Russian shwion could also have access to the interception of other data, including from German intelligence ships in the Baltic Sea and from mobile listening devices located in southern Ukraine.

According to the magazine Der Spiegel, the FSB instructed the spy to find out the exact location in Ukraine of the US Himars high-precision missile launchers and the Berlin-supplied Iris-T air defense system. However, sources of the publication doubt that he was able to do this.

So far, investigators are at a loss as to what could have prompted the former military and intelligence officer to betray the country. The only hint of a motive is his far-right sympathies.

Germany did not reveal the spy itself, but with the help of the allied Western service. The accomplice was “quickly identified as a possible accomplice,” a senior German security official involved in the investigation told the media. According to him, when the spy himself was arrested on December 21, 2022, someone from the FSB called his assistant and warned that he was in danger and offered to fly to Moscow. However, he refused and flew to Florida. Upon learning that he was under investigation in connection with a leak in Germany, the FBI put him under almost round-the-clock surveillance. As a result, on January 12, when he was about to fly back to Munich, FBI agents picked him up at the airport. 

During interrogation, the spy’s assistant admitted that he had been in contact with FSB officers. He was put on a plane to Munich, where he was already met by German police.

Against this backdrop, American and European intelligence agencies warned that despite the constant identification of Russian spies, Europe is still full of them. However, according to experts, the Kremlin’s spy network has been significantly reduced over the past year – for the first time since the Cold War, and the efforts of Western intelligence agencies have reduced its effectiveness.

“The world is different for the Russian services now,” Antti Pelttari, director of Finland’s foreign intelligence service, told the Washington Post. “Their capabilities have been significantly reduced.”

According to Pelttari, now the Russian Federation is trying to compensate for the loss of spies with cyber espionage. In addition, the Kremlin is also trying to take advantage of the refugee flows to infiltrate new spies in European countries.

(C)UNIAN 2023


  1. It’s common knowledge that German “intelligence” services have been compromised for many years. Sometimes we use this to our advantage.

  2. Germany has fallen in many respects since WWII, one of them is their deplorable security level. It’s on par with Zimbabwe’s.

  3. Personally, I am surprised the FBI did something productive.

    Then again, the FBI has its own history of being infiltrated, so maybe that helped them figure it out.

    Robert Philip Hanssen is an American former Federal Bureau of Investigation double agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States from 1979 to 2001. His espionage was described by the U.S. Department of Justice as “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history.”

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