Far from being an all-powerful “spookocracy” that controls the Kremlin, Russia’s intelligence services are internally divided, distracted by bureaucratic turf wars, and often produce poor quality intelligence – ultimately threatening the interests of Vladimir Putin himself.
Drawing on extensive interviews with former and current intelligence officials, “Putin’s hydra: Inside Russia’s intelligence services” explains how the spy agencies really work, and argues that Europe’s view of them is patchy and based on outdated caricatures.
UPDATE 1: Two alert readers have commented, one on the snarky tone that we ignored, and the other on the error in saying that this is a phenomenon that began with the collapse of the USSR. Thanks to the suspicion and paranoia that appears inherent in all Russians and the corruption that was endemic under the Communists the old KGB,GRU, and other security agencies were just as incompetent and uncooperative as their successors are today. As for the U.S. its IC reflects more a complete lack of engagement and competence of its so-called leadership and indeed of the Executive Branch in general.
ROBERT STEELE: I have written about the “seven CIA’s” and many others have written about the terrible dysfunctionality — at great expense — of the US secret intelligence community. The fact is — as I testified to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY-RIP) in both public and private sessions, the primary use of secrecy in the US secret intelligence community is to avoid accountability and lie to Congress with impunity. Counterintelligence does not exist — the “deep state” thrives in this climate of secret impunity — and because the US secret intelligence community is so dysfunctional it is avoiding its greatest potential value, as an open source of intelligence (decision-support) covering all threats, all policies, all true costs, so as to force the issue of US Government fraud, waste, and abuse at the strategic level. I also continue to believe that the “deep state” that uses the CIA and other elements has continued to support the fascists and the fascist mind-set that Allen Dulles make possible in the aftermath of World War II, and that the “threat” of Russia is deeply mistakenly over-stated for financial and political reasons having nothing to do with the security and prosperity of the public. The Nordics would do very well to create their own intelligence (and counterintelligence) capabilities completely separate from the subsidized networks provided by the Americans who are thus able to fabricate — completely falsify — alleged Russian intercepts and other reports that are intended to frighten and control Nordic politicians while frightening and keeping silent intelligent independent observers within the Nordic public. The fake Russian submarine — with the complicity of the Swedish military — stands out. The Nordic public deserves Nordic intelligence and counterintelligence with absolute integrity and loyalty to one customer only: the Nordic public.