CIA Launches Campaign to Recruit Russian Assets via Telegram

May 16, 2023

The Central Intelligence Agency has launched a Telegram account to recruit Russian assets for secure communications with U.S. intel agents.

Telegram is a widely-used, cross-platform messaging app that offers some enhanced privacy and encryption features as well as support for large group chats.

According to the Moscow Times, which cited data from Russia’s four top telecom operators, Telegram accounted for 60-80% of total on-line traffic exchanged in Russia by the start of 2023 and has continued to grow since.

On the CIA’s Telegram page a notice appeared in English entitled, “Securely Contacting CIA.”

“Our global mission demands that individuals be able to reach out to #CIA securely from anywhere,” the posting goes on to say, adding, “At CIA, we have a solemn duty to protect those who work with us around the world. If you’re reaching out to CIA to share information about Russia, please do so securely via our portal on the dark web.”

The link, which also appeared in the CIA’s Twitter bio, has reportedly garnered roughly 6,000 followers so far.

The CIA further released a video on both their Twitter and Telegram sites as well as on YouTube, entitled, “Why I contacted the CIA: My decision.” The video shows fictional characters speaking in Russian who are upset with their country and may have information to share.

The effort comes nearly 15 months into Russia’s invasion of its sovereign neighbor Ukraine, and as Ukraine readies a counteroffensive to to retake territory that’s been captured by Russia.


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