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U.S. intelligence agencies focus anew on the Kremlin

by Greg Miller
(United States)

U.S. intelligence agencies are expanding spying operations against Russia on a greater scale than at any time since the end of the Cold War, U.S. officials said.


The mobilization involves clandestine CIA operatives, National Security Agency cyberespionage capabilities, satellite systems and other intelligence assets, officials said, describing a shift in resources across spy services that had previously diverted attention from Russia to focus on terrorist threats and U.S. war zones.

U.S. officials said the moves are part of an effort to rebuild U.S. intelligence capabilities that had continued to atrophy even as Russia sought to reassert itself as a global power. Over the past two years, officials said, the United States was caught flat-footed by Moscow’s aggression, including its annexation of Crimea, its intervention in the war in Syria and its suspected role in hacking operations against the United States and Europe.

U.S. spy agencies “are playing catch-up big time” with Russia, a senior U.S. intelligence official said. Terrorism remains the top concern for American intelligence services, the official said, but recent directives from the White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) have moved Russia up the list of intelligence priorities for the first time since the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Though hidden from public view, the escalation in espionage activity is part of a broader renewal of conflict and competition between the United States and Russia after a two-decade lull. Surging tensions now cut across nearly every aspect of the U.S-Russia relationship.

The hack of the Democratic National Committee has raised fears that Russia is seeking to undermine democratic institutions if not influence the outcome of the American presidential race.

Read more... https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/as-russia-reasserts-itself-us-intelligence-agencies-focus-anew-on-the-kremlin/2016/09/14/cc212c62-78f0-11e6-ac8e-cf8e0dd91dc7_story.html

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