Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not say whether he knew of any intelligence losses connected to the videos.
by Susan Katz Keating
The CIA’s new double-agent recruitment video should be posted on a Russian government-owned social media platform, Moscow said, mocking the U.S. spy agency – prompting amused reactions from American security officials.
“When the Russians make these kinds of comments, that’s when you know they’re irritated,” one official told Soldier of Fortune. “They cast them as jokes, but they are mad as hell.”
READ MORE: CIA Recruitment Video Asks High Ranking Russians to Get in Touch
Moscow is agitated because the recruitment videos – featuring deeply moral, sympathetic main characters who decide to contact the CIA – are bringing the desired results.
“We are seeing more outreach from Russians as a result of these videos,” a CIA spokesperson said. “If it weren’t working, we wouldn’t be on video number three.”
Hence the wisecrack response out of Moscow.
The designated jokester was Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said the CIA should recruit spies on Russian social media platform VKontakte instead of on the U.S.-based X.
“Somebody should tell the CIA that VKontakte is much more popular here than the banned X and that VKontakte has a much larger audience,” Peskov said on Tuesday.
“That’s how you know they’re mad,” the security official said. “Peskov is their man for dry commentary. He’s good. But it’s like in the movies when a mob boss says, ‘that’s funny.’ That’s your tipoff that he is not amused.”
The latest CIA video, released on Jan. 22, is directed at Russian intelligence workers who feel betrayed by corruption in Moscow.
“Those around you may not want to hear the truth,” the video says in Russian. “But we do. You are not powerless.”
Set against an orchestral score that evokes Russian classical ballet music, such as Swan Lake, the video tells the story of a Russian man who is reaching his 35th birthday, and is thinking about his father, who was a Russian paratrooper.
Speaking in Russian, the narrator says he joined the military’s intelligence service, the GRU, to serve his country.
“But I quickly realized that the real enemy lies within,” the narrator says. “Our leaders sell out the country for palaces and yachts while our soldiers chew rotten potatoes and fire ancient weapons.
“Our people are forced to give bribes just to find a job. But the elites in incredibly expensive watches while away the time as the corruption and nepotism eat my country alive from the inside.”
The man decides to honor his father’s example.
“My desire is to save Russia,” the man says. “I will be the spark of truth for my son’s sake.”
He secretly contacts the CIA.
The CIA posts such recruitment products every year, Moscow said.
Peskov did not indicate whether he knew of any intelligence losses connected to the videos.
The Kremlin did not immediately respond to Soldier of Fortune.