FSB official discusses foreign spying on Russian research projects

The chief of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) directorate for the Saratov region of Russia has held a news conference discussing alleged spying by foreign intelligence operatives. Major-General Valeriy Beklenishchev, who heads the Saratov branch of Russia’s foremost domestic intelligence agency, said nanotechnology research projects conducted at the region’s universities are prime espionage targets of foreign operatives. Other scientific projects eyed by covert agents are “heat and power engineering and electronics”, said Beklenishchev, who also identified regional “defense capability […], military installations [and] defense production facilities” as major espionage targets. The regional FSB director further discussed two counterintelligence operations by the FSB in the region. One reportedly involved “a female citizen of a C[ommonwealth of] I[ndependent] S[tates] nation [who] used military uniform to penetrate military facilities, gained the trust of military personnel and had sexual relations with them”. Another operation targeted an Uzbek national who later allegedly confessed offering his services “to a Western intelligence agency”. Both alleged agents were expelled from Russia, Beklenishchev said. [JF]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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