Putin Puts the Squeeze on US Embassy Personnel in Psycho War

Posted on September 24, 2011

Remember ten short years ago when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited George Bush on the Texas White House ranch at Crawford?  Remember the two of them tooling around in the truck smiling?  And George enthusiastically said he had looked into the soul of this Russian and had seen a good guy?  Remember?  It has been another example of American naivete in the face of a sophisticated old enemy – the Russian KGB. [LA Times]


Ask my good friend Rob Lorinov at Lorinov’s Blog if the Soviet Union ever really went away and he will give you a resounding “Nyet.”  Once a seasoned KGB officer, always a KGB officer and now Putin has returned to the old ways and systematic psychological warfare against the personnel in western embassies.

Russian spy agency targeting western diplomats

FSB using psychological techniques developed by KGB to intimidate and demoralise diplomatic staff, activists and journalists

Vladimir Putin

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was a lieutenant colonel in the KGB and ran its successor, the FSB. Photograph: Carlos Baria/EPA

Russia‘s spy agency is waging a massive undercover campaign of harassment against British and American diplomats, as well as other targets, using deniable “psychological” techniques developed by the KGB, a new book reveals.

The federal security service (FSB) operation involves breaking into the private homes of western diplomats – a method the US state department describes as “home intrusions”. Typically the agents move around personal items, open windows and set alarms in an attempt to demoralise and intimidate their targets.

The FSB operation includes the bugging of private apartments, widespread phone tapping, physical surveillance, and email interception. Its victims include local Russian staff working for western embassies, opposition activists, human rights workers and journalists.

The clandestine campaign is revealed in Mafia State, a book by the Guardian’s former Moscow correspondent Luke Harding, serialised in Saturday’s Weekend magazine.

No state has perfected harassment to the extent the Russia has.  So we have a renewed confrontation in our court.  What is the Obama administration doing about it?  Well, if a book has to announce the reality to us, the answer has to be not much.

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