December 8, 1996 in Nation/World

Report: Ex-Kgb To Begin Spying On Media

Compiled From Wire Services

The former KGB is planning to revive the Soviet-era practice of infiltrating the media, a Russian newspaper reported Saturday.

Izvestia said the practice amounts to domestic espionage, which theoretically was outlawed after the Soviet collapse, when the KGB was restructured.

Despite this prohibition, the KGB’s main successor, the Federal Security Service, is secretly planning a new division staffed with agents devoted to “cultivating” journalists and planting stories in the media, the newspaper said.

“Lubyanka decided to start its secret romance with the Russian press again,” Izvestia said in the front-page story, using the shorthand term for the headquarters of the secret police.

It said the decision was motivated by two things: the success of Chechen separatists in getting out their message during the war with Russia, in part on the Internet, and public relations successes of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

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