Former Army Captain Charged In Russian Espionage Conspiracy by J.

Peter-Rafael-Dzibinski-Debbins

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins was arrested Friday.

“According to the allegations, Mr. Debbins knowingly provided information to self-proclaimed members of Russia's Intelligence Service, the GRU,” said James A. Dawson, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, the American people and his fellow service men and women should have been able to trust Debbins with secrets and information. Debbins allegedly fell very short of that and exploited his role in the military and his fellow service members to benefit one of our top adversaries for years. Today’s charges are another example of the dedicated and unrelenting efforts of the FBI and our partners, domestic and international, to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who violate this sacred trust and place our national security at risk.”

DOJ release:

"From the DOJ press release:  According to court documents, from December 1996 to January 2011, Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, a former member of the U.S. Army, allegedly conspired with agents of a Russian intelligence service. During that time, Debbins periodically visited Russia and met with Russian intelligence agents. In 1997, Debbins was assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents and signed a statement attesting that he wanted to serve Russia."

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-army-special-forces-officer-charged-russian-espionage-conspiracy

Indictment:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1307186/download

J.

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19 Responses to Former Army Captain Charged In Russian Espionage Conspiracy by J.

  1. Avatar turcopolier says:

    All
    Walk ins are common and the easy way to recruit. I read in the NY Times that the GRU approached him while he was studying in Russia before he came on active duty in the US Army. That is pretty close to a walk in. They urged him to join SF saying they had no use for infantry junior officers. Hang him high.

  2. This guy made almost yearly trips to Russia since childhood. He married a Russian in Russia. I bet he was recruited long before he joined ROTC. He was in 1/10th SFGA and ran an MTT in Azerbaijan. Foe some reason, he was relieved from that duty. I knew a lot of foreigners in SF and in a SMU. They were nothing like this SOB. I agree with Colonel Lang. Hang him high.

  3. Avatar Peter VE says:

    Now lets watch the Dems desperately try to connect him to Trump…

  4. J,
    This SOB could have been a goldmine for the GRU depending on how far he burrowed into IC and NATO cyber operations. His value in this realm would far exceed his penetration of 1/10th SFG(A). His position at JAC Molesworth as a DIA contractor probably gave his some degree of access to GCHQ holdings as well as Dutch AVID reporting. Bad stuff. They need to debrief the dog shit out of him before he’s thrown into a deep dark hole.
    He may have never had any loyalty to the US. In a sense he can be seen as a long term GRU illegal. Have to hand it to the GRU. This was a well designed and run operation… until this year.

  5. J,
    That’s the Dutch AIVD rater than AVID. Damned acronyms.

  6. Avatar Chuck Light says:

    I am a “Dem” (as opposed to a “Dese” or “Dose” I suppose), and I take a bit of offense to your snide remark. From the DoJ press release, it would appear that this alleged spy (treasonous cur, if you prefer) could be linked to Clinton, or to Bush 43, or to Obama (two “Dems” and one “Dose”), but the timeline apparently exonerates the current (and hopefully soon to be former) occupant of the White House.
    Clearly, if these allegations are true, the closest connection is to Putin. I guess that is a way to link this to Trump, but it is not for me to say, nor, in my view, for you to insinuate to all “Dems.”

  7. Avatar EEngineer says:

    James, what streaming service has “smiley’s people”?

  8. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Chuck Light
    This man’s recruitment by the GRU has nothing to do with American politics.

  9. Avatar turcopolier says:

    TTG
    “This was a well designed and run operation.” Too generous. He jumped into their lap.

  10. pl,
    He was an easy recruitment, but not a walk in. He was spotted, assessed and developed beginning in December 1996 and formally recruited in October 1997. Since he declared himself a “son of Russia” and was conveniently in Russia so often, I bet the GRU at least considered this might have been a dangle operation. Seldom are real recruitments this easy. None of mine were. I’m still impressed by the tenacity and patience exhibited by the GRU in slowly moving this asset into a position with access to truly valuable information. I know we seek to develop and recruit assets as junior officers in hope that they will someday grow into well placed sources, but this seems to be a real strength of the GRU. I spoke with a GRU officer defector once and he relayed that the recruiting GRU officer stays with an operation throughout the life of the operation. I like that.

  11. Avatar TV says:

    With his life story, how did he get ANY security clearance?
    Where was Army CI – watching old spy movies?

  12. Avatar turcopolier says:

    TTG
    OK They screened all foreign students and chatted him up somewhere. They only had to ask once. I do like the idea of keeping the same CO with an operation as long as it lasts.

  13. Avatar Charlie Wilson says:

    I am fascinated by the contempt we have for Russian history, culture and the ordinary Russian. I can assure you it is not reciprocated. Time to take the Cold War blinders off. Le Carre’s books and movies, especially Richard Burton in the Spy Who Came In From The Cold, are masterpieces, but now totally irrelevant. There is more material and intelligence simply handed over to dirty Izzie and she truly despises us. This guy, along with his wife, should be handed over to Russia as an act of mercy.

  14. Avatar Chuck Light says:

    I agree, turcopolier, but it was not me that said “Now lets watch the Dems desperately try to connect him to Trump…”, it was Peter VE. Forgive me if I am not permitted to respond to snide political comments. I will try to restrain myself in the future.

  15. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Chuck Light
    Perhaps you should be clearer as to who said what. Snottyness is not appreciated.

  16. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Charlie Wilson
    Nonsense. He betrayed his oath as a US officer. We need to find out if his wife was involved. We can trade them to you later if you want them. It was very sloppy to meet him repeatedly in Russia. Sound practice would have been to meet him somewhere that fit in his normal pattern of activity. Didn’t trust him? Just kidding.

  17. Avatar Chuck Light says:

    Sorry. I didn’t realize I was being snotty. Clearly I am not welcome here. Have a nice day.

  18. Avatar A.I.S. says:

    I dont think he will serve time very long, although he will no doubt be sentenced to a very long term (justly so, a broken oath is a broken oath, also, if his sentence isnt very long the GRU will not ransom him out).
    If the indictment is correct, he will strongly be considered “must exchange” as far as GRU is concerned. Getting cooperative semi walk ins out of super max is important for further GRU recruitment efforts.
    I have no idea how many people on both sides are currently in the ransom/exchange pipeline.
    I am surprised about the frequent meetings in Russia though, seems highly unprofessional and needlessly risky.
    Establishing a pattern of activity that includes travel to a location where Russian intel operatives are frequent and meetable is not only quite feasible but actually fun, especially if you like Winter Sports.
    Switzerland is nice most times of the year as is spy capital Vienna.
    It may btw. be that repeat visits to Russia raise less red flags then some visits to Russia, particular if the red flag raising is somewhat algorithmic. May also be a dose of “waayy too fucking obvious, the guy is probably fine” on the US CI side.

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