Thursday, August 6, 2020

Russia’s Reckless ‘GRU’ Military Intelligence Could Start War With U.S.

Whether Russian military intelligence actually paid bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US troops in Afghanistan – and some senior US military leaders still doubt it – is yet to be determined (RELATED: No Hoax – Trump’s Better Response to ‘Russian Bounties’ Issue). Nevertheless, there is little doubt that Vladimir Putin is relying more on Russian intelligence forces to attack the West, and the US.

When Putin does approve covert actions against the West, including assassinations, and to conduct election interference and influence operations, he often uses Russian military intelligence (Main Intelligence Directorate – GRU) rather than descendant of his old foreign intelligence agency, the KGB, now known as the SVR.

In times of high stress, these brazen ongoing GRU attacks could easily spark a conflict with the US.

GPB.org reported that Kendall-Taylor, a former Russian analyst at CIA, notes Putin seems to rely on the GRU because the KGB was dismantled after the Soviet Union collapsed and reconstituted as the SVR. The SVR is also more cautious. The century-old GRU, founded by Leon Trotsky, remained mostly intact. It is also more action-oriented.

“They have a much more aggressive and risk-taking culture, which is why I think we’ve seen Putin rely on the GRU,” she added.

Well-known Russia expert, Mark Galeotti provides more insights in a policy brief:

The Foreign Intelligence Service is quite traditional, not least in its penchant for long-term, deep-cover spy rings, inherited from the KGB…The GRU’s aggressive and risk-taking culture reflects its military background and its broad portfolio of assets, which include substantial electronic, satellite, and battlefield reconnaissance capabilities, and Spetsnaz (special forces). Though part of the General Staff apparatus, it enjoys a degree of operational autonomy and its chief can brief the president directly.

While the “Russian Bounties” intelligence is still being assessed, the GRU’s fingerprints are seen on a host of other nefarious GRU actions against the US.

Though discredited in many ways, the Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election included charges against 12 GRU members. GPB explains that to “show how much information the U.S. gathered, the indictments included the full names, ranks, addresses and even the individual computers used by the GRU suspects.”

But the GRU is known for a lot more than election interference. It seems to have become Putin’s go-to agency after its successes during Russia’s 2014 attack on the Ukraine. It has since been implicated in the 2016 coup attempt in Montenegro and is believed to be directing Russia’s “private mercenary groups” like the Wagner Group in Syria and elsewhere throughout Africa, and even in Venezuela.

SEE ALSO: Hybrid Warfare – Russia Sends Warplanes to Back Wagner Group ‘Mercenaries’ in Libya

More specifically, according to the New York Times and Business Insider reporting, Unit 29155 is the GRU’s team for foreign assassinations, subversion, and destabilization activities in Europe and the US. Reportedly formed in 2008 in the aftermath of the Russia-Georgia war, the GRU unit has been tied to attempted or successful assassinations in the UK, Germany, and Bulgaria.

Business Insider reported that Unit 29155 is also suspected of politically destabilizing activities in Spain and Moldova; a 2018 assassination attempt on a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, working for British intelligence, via the use of a nerve agent in England; and a 2015 assassination attempt on a Bulgarian arms manufacturer, via the use of poison.

The two alleged assassins implicated in the UK assassination attempt – where an innocent British bystander died after ingesting the nerve agent discarded by the Russians – were later identified as GRU officers. The British Government claimed that the operation “was almost certainly also approved outside of the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.”

Business Insider added insights on these reckless GRU operations from a European intelligence official:

Some people will point to the sloppiness of some of their operations but in each case they were able to hit the target and in some cases even eliminate it. The real issues seem to come in trying to make an escape without being detected.

Matthew Rojansky at the Wilson Center was quoted by GPB.org as saying it’s important to understand the GRU.

This is not the well-oiled machine that it would ideally be. There is tremendous internal competition between and among the Russian intelligence agencies…If you’re trying to score points against a rival service, that’s where you might get a little bit ahead of your skis. You take a risk and you’ll either succeed or you’ll fail.

This combination of ruthlessness, recklessness, and Russian state sanction – likely by Putin himself – makes the GRU an extremely dangerous agency. It also might make it increasingly likely that the GRU could spark a real conflict with the US.

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Paul Crespo
Paul Crespo
Paul Crespo is a defense and national security expert. He served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. He holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. Paul is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and a Contributor to American Defense News.

15 COMMENTS

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Roger
Roger
26 days ago

if the GRU worries you the CIA should terrify you!
but yeah, we good, Russia bad… lol!

Recce1
Recce1
26 days ago
Reply to  Roger

Did you ever read the Spy Vs. Spy cartoons, one white and one black? Who really were the bad guys? Yes, the GRU and the CIA are cousins with more in common than loyalty to their home countries it seems at times.

VladdIlyich
VladdIlyich
26 days ago
Reply to  Roger

The CIA is a bad joke. I have quite a few friends who are GRU. They never did have the finesse of KGB, but like all military related intelligence, they get the job done using brute force. Part of that is because they are loaded with spetsnaz (Russian Delta Force). Unfortunately the SVR is too you to have the expertise tha KGB did (especially not getting caught). Another ten years and more training with former KGB and they will be a tremendously formidable force. They tried to replace KGB with FSB for a while, but they had no talent or abilities for the work. They are more ike a federal SWAT team, absolutely heavy handed and more mistakes than they were worth. I’m sure Volodia misses the good days from the KGB because it ran like a well-oiled machine.

labiw67934
26 days ago
Reply to  Roger

nice post

A. D Roberts
23 days ago
Reply to  Roger

You have godless men who believe in their own power. What do you expect. God says it in the Bible. “There is a way that seemeth right to man. But the end, thereof, is destruction.”
And remember. Hillary was the FIRST and only one to come up with a RESET button with Russia.

StanB
StanB
26 days ago

Putin can always count on BLM, Antifa and the democrat party.

Robert
Robert
23 days ago
Reply to  StanB

StanB
Now you seem to have it quite backwards, Putin can always count on Trump and his followers.
Now actual proof of things Russia has done toward this USA and Trump has not said a word to Putin about those things. Maybe some day we will find out waht Putin is holding over Trump’s head.

Ben Matthews
Ben Matthews
26 days ago

Blah, blah, blee? The real reason…the best time to undermine your enemy, is when they’re polarized!

labiw67934
26 days ago

nice post…www.earningscoop.com

Mike
Mike
26 days ago

Russian intelligence, oxymoron of the day. More like goon squad. Putey had free reign while Obama was in office and would still have it if Clinton won. Now they have China screwing with them. Past time to bankrupt them again

Gary Mallinger
Gary Mallinger
26 days ago

The Russians will first antagonize the US, and when they push us to the limit then they will experience regret.

Steve Griswold
Steve Griswold
24 days ago

We are always blithering about Russian aggression. To get a fair and balanced view about who the aggressor really is one only needs to look at troop deployents, ship movements and aircraft flights. The US has nearly 50,000 troops on the border with Russia. Russia has zero troops anywhere near our borders. US warships routinely steam close to Russian waters in the Baltic and the Black Seas. The Russians have never steamed a warship into the Gulf of Mexico. We both fly close to each others Air Defense Identification Zones and both sides send armed fighters to intercept and escort. So, who exactly is more aggressive?

Robert
Robert
23 days ago
Reply to  Steve Griswold

Steve Griswold
Now that is exactly why we have troops any where Russia is involved in. that is so that those things that you mention stay in Europe and possibly in Russia, not on our door step.

Jojodmonkey
Jojodmonkey
23 days ago

NUKE Moscow today!

Fr. James Rosselli
Fr. James Rosselli
23 days ago

This is hogwash, just a propaganda piece in support of the empty men who wish to re-start the cold war, for profit.

Russia has offered alliance to the United States (no, not like Stalin did) multiple times. This would be incredibly good, and would make the world a safer, better place. But there’s no money in peace.

I don;t think publications that call themselves tbhings like “American Action News” should be so ready to support a globalist claque that wants to organize the world into a constant state of anxiety and conflict to maintain their own power.

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