The latest in what has become a steady drumbeat of arrests of foreign spies and double-agents in the intelligence community continued on Friday when federal prosecutors charged a former Green Beret living in northern Virginia with espionage activity dating back to 1996.
The spy was accused of working with Russian Intelligence, and was even assigned a code name by his Russian handlers, implying that he was a de facto part of their organization. He allegedly signed a statement saying he wanted “to serve Russia.”
It’s already the second arrest this week involving a US official caught stealing and transmitting US secrets to a foreign power. On Aug. 17, an ex-CIA officer was charged in Hawaii. Other cases involving corporate America and academia have cropped up earlier this year as well.
The US attorney who brought the case in released a statement promising to hold service member double-agents “accountable”.
“When service members collude to provide classified information to our foreign adversaries, they betray the oaths they swore to their country and their fellow service members,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia., whose office is prosecuting the case. “As this indictment reflects, we will be steadfast and dogged in holding such individuals accountable.”
Debbins was arrested Friday, prosecutors told the AP. However, online court records remain sealed, so details of the case including related to Debbins’ representation are unclear.
The espionage allegedly occurred between 1996 to 2011, prosecutors say, a period where Debbins served in the US Army Special Forces as a Green Beret.
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