Did FSB leak Russian double spy’s name to the media?

SVR seal

SVR seal

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The revelation that a double agent betrayed the ten Russian deep-cover spies, who were arrested in the United States last summer, may have been leaked to the media as part of a turf war between two rival Russian spy agencies. On November 11, Russian newspaper Kommersant disclosed that a senior officer in Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) had defected to the United States shortly before the arrest of ten Russian deep-cover spies by the FBI, on June 27, 2010. The paper identified the alleged double agent as “Colonel Shcherbakov”, believed by veteran KGB officer Oleg Kalugin to be Aleksandr Vasilyevich Shcherbakov. The Kommersant disclosure was later confirmed by no other than Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. But who leaked Shcherbakov’s name to Kommersant, and why? According to Pavel Felgenhauer, military and intelligence correspondent for Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, the leak originated from within the Russian intelligence establishment. Specifically, Felgenhauer suggests that it was Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) that leaked the information to the media, in an attempt to score points against the SVR. Although both agencies are descendants of the Soviet-era KGB, they operate on different territories: the SVR spies abroad, while the FSB is in charge of domestic security and counterintelligence. However, both the SVR and the FSB compete for funds coming from the same federal budget pool and are thus engaged in a bitter bureaucratic turf war. The arrest last summer of the Russian deep-cover agents by the FBI offers “a chance for the FSB to launch a campaign to subdue the SVR”, according to Felgenhauer. Kommersant also reports that Shcherbakov fled Russia for the United States shortly before the arrests of the Russian deep-cover agents, and that the SVR has already formed a hit squad to track him down and kill him.

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

One Response to Did FSB leak Russian double spy’s name to the media?

  1. This is great. The FSB vs the SVR! This is the perfect time for the GRU to stab them both in the back.

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