Support The Moscow Times!

FBI Recruits D.C.-Area Russians With Russian-Language Facebook Ads


The FBI appears to be recruiting Russians living in and around the U.S. capital with awkwardly worded and grammatically incorrect Russian-language Facebook ads, CNN has reported.

Washington and Moscow have traded accusations of espionage, disinformation and other influence campaigns as relations between the powers have deteriorated to Cold War levels. An investigation into the 2016 U.S. presidential race found that the Russian state ran a hacking and propaganda operation to disrupt the election.

Screenshot FBI / CNN

Three targeted ads on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s verified Facebook page solicit intelligence from Russian speakers in the Washington, D.C. area, CNN reported Wednesday. 

The still-active ads link to the website of the counterintelligence program at the FBI’s Washington field office, where a message in both English and Russian calls on potential recruits to “visit us in person.”

The field office website says its mission “is to protect the American people... through the detection, identification and neutralization of hostile foreign intelligence activities.”

Screenshot FBI / CNN

“Russia has long been a counterintelligence threat to the U.S.," Alan E. Kohler Jr., a special agent in charge of the Washington field office's counterintelligence division, told CNN. Kohler Jr. added that the FBI will “continue to adapt our investigative and outreach techniques to counter the [Russian] threat.”

One of the stock-photo ads urges Russian speakers to come forward “for your future [and] for your family’s future,” but misspells three Russian words and misplaces a comma.

The other two ads call on potential recruits to “draw bridges” and “make your move.”

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.