No let-up in spying amid tit-for-tat Russian sanctions: U.S. official
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia still carries out a spying campaign against the United States despite sanctions and daily advertising interference from Moscow in the 2016 US presidential election, said the senior US counter-espionage official In an interview.
William Evanina, the National Anti-Spy Executive, describes a wide range of challenges facing his agency: piracy of government secrets and industry; Industrial espionage; Government employees and contractors who share secrets with the media and groups such as WikiLeaks and the foreign acquisition of the strategic industries of the United States.
Evanina spoke to Reuters on Friday, the same day Russia responded in the Cold War era to a new round of US sanctions ordering Washington to cut off diplomatic personnel and said it grabbed two US troops. Diplomatic properties.
Russian President Vladimir Poutine said 755 people had to leave their jobs, even though they are Russian citizens.
Congress voted last week mainly to further punish Russia with the findings of US intelligence agencies that Moscow had used cyber warfare and other methods to interfere in the elections, which Putin has repeatedly denied.
Last December, President Barack Obama has expelled 35 Russian diplomats, intelligence agents and sanctioned Russian personnel and expelled two Russian representatives from US diplomatic representatives.
Evanina said that losing compounds was a “major blow to the Russians – meaningful … and I’m not even sure we can measure …”.
However, he said that US agencies “have not seen an impediment or a decrease – or increase” in Russian espionage activity over the past year. “I can tell you that the FBI does not have less work.”
However Evanina recognized that in eye-for-eye expulsions, the US Has more to lose than Moscow.
“We have a significant size … smaller than it exists, it will always be disproportionate.”
The United States has long conducted its own operations of spying and aggressive electronic surveillance against Russia and, before that, the Soviet Union.
Reduced personnel from Russia and the United States will reduce ownership of diplomatic infrastructure that countries often have to carry out foreign affairs – and spies.
Evanina said the Russian spy strategy has changed over the past five to seven years, no longer exclusively dependent intelligence agents officially employed by its spy agencies.
Now, he said, it also involves sending businessmen, engineers and other travelers in the United States who work as contractors for the intelligence services.
Evanina declined to comment on US investigations into election-year activities in Moscow and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russian officials. Trump denies any collusion.
He said that over the past year, he has worked intensively with the US private sector to protect critical infrastructure and supply chains from external threats.