Former Green Beret charged with spying for Russia

 A former U.S. Army Green Beret conspired with Russia’s foreign intelligence arm, the GRU, providing them with national defense information from 1996 to 2011, federal prosecutors said Friday in an indictment.

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, of Gainesville, Virginia, faces a single count of conspiracy to gather or deliver defense information to aid a foreign government. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Debbins first visited Russia when was 19 years old, according to the federal indictment. His mother was born in the Soviet Union, and he met his wife in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where the couple later married. His father-in-law was a former an officer in the Russian military.

Debbins, 45, was born in Minnesota. It was unclear Friday whether he has an attorney.

According to the indictment, Debbins was slowly groomed and indoctrinated into the Russian intelligence apparatus starting in December 1996 when Debbins traveled to Chelyabinsk as part of an independent study program, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

He was assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents and signed a document saying he wanted to serve Russia, the Department of Justice said.

Debbins allegedly shared classified information about his time in the Special Forces, including names and information on his former team members that Russian agents could evaluate and possibly approach those people to see if they would cooperate.

When service members collude to provide classified information to our foreign adversaries, they betray the oaths they swore to their country and their fellow service members,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “As this indictment reflects, we will be steadfast and dogged in holding such individuals accountable.”

The investigation was conducted with the help of the FBI, Army Counterintelligence, the U.K.’s Metropolitan Police and their internal security apparatus, MI5.

According to prosecutors, a member of the Russian intelligence service contacted Debbins and later set up a meeting in 1996. Debbins was taught tradecraft and was given an assignment to get the names of four nuns at a Catholic church that Debbins visited, a task he accomplished at the behest of a Russian intelligence officer.

Previous Post Next Post

BovoTv 2021 inc