Eli Lake at the Washington Times has a fascinating look at the way that Russian intelligence services are intimidating American officials in the country, despite supposed talks of a “reset” for relations between the countries.The most obvious example was the apparent use of a bomb in Georgia near the US embassy last year. Georgia and the CIA now believe that the bomb was set under Russian orders.
But the tactic of intimidation goes far wider, Lake argues — and it’s gotten worse in the last year.
Methods used include breaking and entering, anonymous threats, and attempts to blackmail the Americans with sex scandals.
Some Junior Foreign Service officers have come home to find “jewelry rearranged, cigarette butts stubbed out on the kitchen table, defecations in the bathroom, and break-ins with nothing of value stolen”.
Other Americans working in Russia were accused of underage sex or using prostitutes, facing either doctored evidence or attempts to trap them in “honey traps”.
The problem, Lake argues, may be a split in the Russian establishment between the Kremlin, that wants closer links to the US, and the intelligence agencies, which still see the world in Cold War terms.
“There are most certainly some in the Russian government – nationalists, hard-liners, KGB folks, etc. – who don’t like the reset and are doing whatever they can to derail it,” an unnamed US official told the Washington Times.
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