— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) April 25, 2018
Among the dozens of Russian diplomats the US expelled last month were suspected spies who US law enforcement and intelligence officials believe were tracking Russian defectors and their families who had resettled in the US, officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.In at least one instance, suspected Russian spies were believed to be casing someone who was part of a CIA program that provided new identities to protect resettled Russians, the officials said.That episode and other US intelligence raised concerns that the Russians were preparing to target Russian émigrés in the US labeled by the Kremlin as traitors or enemies, law enforcement and intelligence officials said.The CIA declined to comment. The White House declined to comment.The Russian embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
CNN Exclusive: Russian spies were tracking emigres in US. pic.twitter.com/ernDVQwx3I
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 25, 2018
The Russian Intelligence Services are playing a very dangerous game here. And they are doing so with the full support of the Russian government:
Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee produced a report earlier this year raised the issue of the suspicious deaths of more than two dozen critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin during his time in power. The Russian security services are suspected in many of the deaths, the report said, noting a Russian law passed “in July 2006 that permits the assassination of ‘enemies of the Russian regime’ who live abroad.”
Unfortunately the US government’s ability to respond is hindered by the partisan politicization of the Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaign. As Admiral Rogers, the outgoing Director of the NSA and the Commander of US Cyber Command, stated in February:
Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the departing head of the National Security Agency and the military’s Cyber Command, said that he was using the authorities he had to combat the Russian attacks. But under questioning during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he acknowledged that the White House had not asked his agencies — the main American spy and defense arms charged with conducting cyberoperations — to find ways to counter Moscow, or granted them new authorities to do so.
“President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity,’” said Admiral Rogers, who is set to retire in April. “Clearly what we have done hasn’t been enough.”
Admiral Rogers’s testimony was the second time this month that a senior American intelligence official had said that Russia’s efforts to meddle in American elections did not end in 2016, and that the Trump administration had taken no extraordinary steps to stop them. He and other intelligence leaders warned two weeks ago on Capitol Hill that Russia was using a digital strategy to worsen political and social divisions in the United States, and all the intelligence chiefs said they had not been expressly asked by the White House to find a way to punish Russia for its efforts.
The comments by Admiral Rogers on Tuesday reflected what appears to be a widening gap between President Trump and the intelligence agencies he runs. While the president has mocked the notion of Russian meddling in the election he won, American intelligence officials are convinced of it, and they believe Russia is now looking to interfere in the midterm elections in November.
If we don’t get our acts together soon, Putin’s wetwork will definitively come to America and we’ll unfortunately get to find out just how the US and Americans react to this new and different form of state sponsored terrorism. Based on our response to the attacks on 9-11, I doubt the reaction will be much better this time.