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Putin aide mocks CIA video recruiting Russian double agents

The Kremlin’s press secretary mocked the CIA on Tuesday after the agency posted a Russian-language video attempting to recruit spies.

Dmitry Peskov joked that the video, posted to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, should have instead been posted to the popular Russian site VKontakte if the agency really wanted it viewed by Russians.

“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, state media TASS reported.

The CIA video is specifically targeted at Russian intelligence employees in an attempt to recruit double agents. It calls on patriotic Russians, put off by rampant corruption in the Russian government and poor conditions in the military amid its war in Ukraine, to work with the U.S.

“Those around you may not want to hear the truth. But we do. You are not powerless,” the video says.

The narrative centers on a fictional Russian intelligence official disappointed in his country’s government.

“Do I have enough courage to confront this betrayal?” the character questions.

“The top leadership has sold the country out for palaces and yachts at a time when our soldiers are chewing rotten potatoes and firing from prehistoric weapons,” he continues. “Our people are forced to give bribes to simply find work.”

American intelligence agencies have redoubled efforts to recruit Russian assets since the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. In July, CIA Director William Burns said the conflict presented a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” for recruitment.

“I think Putin is already a little bit uneasy as he looks over his shoulder,” Burns said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The CIA released a similar recruitment video in Russian last year.

“You know, this practice is quite common, intelligence agencies around the world very often use the media and social networks to recruit new employees,” Peskov said. “And they do it all the time, the CIA does it every year.”

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