Russian weapons systems, intelligence, other military programs received an illegal upgrade at American taxpayer expense over the last several years, the Justice Department announced today.
Alexander Fishenko, a Russian agent who owns businesses in the United States and Russia, led “military technology procurement network” that purchased high-tech microelectronics and sold them to the Russian military and intelligence agencies.
“The microelectronics allegedly exported to Russia are subject to strict government controls due to their potential use in a wide range of military systems, including radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems and detonation triggers,” DOJ explained in unsealing the indictment of eleven people involved in the conspiracy.
Timothy Reeves of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said the conspiracy creates “the potential for significant enhancement of Russian naval weapons systems that would result from the illegal acquisition of these export-controlled technologies.”
Fishenko and his cohorts have shipped $50,000,000 of technology to Russia since 2002. “This is espionage,” the Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes, a former intelligence officer, told The Washington Examiner. “In this case it’s industrial espionage . . . This is something that the United States because of it’s high-tech sector and its advanced military systems is under constant threat of. Often we hear about the Chinese being involved in this, but this reminds us that the threat is obviously wider than that.”
Hank Crumpton, deputy director of the CIA’s counterterrorism center after the September 11 terrorist attacks, suggested in a CBS interview this year that “there are more foreign intelligence officers inside the U.S. working against U.S. interests now than even at the height of the Cold War.” Crumpton cited China as the primary country sponsoring those intelligence officers.
“Often we hear about the Chinese being involved in [espionage], but this reminds us that the threat is obviously wider than that,” Brookes said today. “Russia is involved in a significant military build-up and it plans to take its place among the most powerful nations in the world again. With President Putin in power, we have to be cautious about our relationship with Russia.”