Russia probably has more undercover ‘sleeper’ agents in the West now than during the Cold War

• Russia’s programme for placing sleeper agents in foreign countries — spies who live ordinary, mundane lives — is probably bigger now than it was in the Cold War, the House of Commons Defence Committee has been told.

• The so-called “illegals” are trained and controlled by two separate and sometimes competing Russian agencies, the mysterious “Directorate S” within the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR); and the “Main Intelligence Directorate” (GRU).

• The end of the Cold War actually made it easier for Russia to place illegals inside the UK and US.

• Russia wants its illegals to remain quiet and anonymous, developing low-level contacts on the edges of power. They don’t act like James Bond.

Victor Madeira

LONDON — There are probably more Russian “sleeper” agents in the UK and US today than there were during the Cold War, according to Victor Madeira, a senior fellow at The Institute for Statecraft who testified to Parliament about Russian covert interference in Britain.

In written evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee, Madeira — a Russia expert — described the resources Russia commands in its efforts to subdue British, European and American influence.

Most of his evidence focused on the fact thatRussia’s intelligence services vastly outnumber their counterparts in the UK. But he also included this tidbit about Russia’s “Main Intelligence Directorate,” the GRU, and its “illegals” operation, which places spies in Britain and the US where they live seemingly ordinary lives, until called upon by Moscow:

“GRU has long deployed ‘illegals’. These hand-picked, deep-cover intelligence officers live abroad under assumed ‘legends’: carefully constructed false foreign identities and life stories (over decades in some cases), allowing ‘illegals’ to blend in.”

“… Nowadays, UK CI and CE [counterintelligence and counterespionage] resources are much diminished, while former Warsaw Pact nationals can easily travel across NATO. This is a particular problem if an intelligence officer/asset uses ‘natural cover’ (i.e. their own identity, sometimes called ‘non-official cover’ or NOC). A banker or travel agent may be just that – or they may also be intelligence officers or assets (the latter willing or coerced). Having few(er) or no traceable links to a hostile intelligence service, NOCs are far more difficult to detect, monitor and counter. This is why they are so valued.”

“‘Illegals’ are the most prized of intelligence officers,” Madeira, the author of “Britannia and the Bear,” a history of espionage between the two nations, concluded.

“Despite the ‘end’ of the Cold War in 1989-1991, Russia’s decades-long ‘illegals’ programmes didn’t miss a beat. These programmes remain as strategic, long-term, resource-intensive in nature and prized as ever, with a single purpose: placing hand-picked Russian intelligence assets across foreign societies and governments, regardless of the current state of East-West relations,” he told Business Insider recently.


Ex-Florida police sergeant guilty of child pornography charges

Kyle Adam Kirby, 37, used hidden camera to film children in bathroom

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal jury convicted a former Live Oak police sergeant who secretly filmed children using the restroom and kept dozens of images of child pornography on his patrol car computer, the Justice Department said Friday.

Jurors found Kyle Adam Kirby, 37, guilty of producing, attempting to produce, possessing and accessing child pornography, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kirby, who has been in custody since his arrest Oct. 28, 2015, at the Live Oak Police Department, faces up to 120 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has not yet been set.

The statement said a search of Kirby’s patrol car computer Oct. 22, 2015, turned up images showing young children involved in sex acts. The sergeant had been using that computer to download and store child pornography since December 2014.

Agents also found images of nude children on an office computer Kirby used at the police department. Using a hidden camera, he filmed unsuspecting children using three different bathrooms and downloaded the resulting images onto his desktop.

Prosecutors said Kirby tried unsuccessfully to cover his tracks by deleting images from his office computer, but agents were able to locate and recover folders named for several of his victims.

In a statement, Live Oak Police Chief Alton “Buddy” Williams called Kirby’s actions a betrayal. “I realize that mistakes happen, but this was no mistake it was a choice, a choice that has impacted not only his agency, but his trusted friends, family and community.”

Kirby’s arrest and conviction resulted from an online child exploitation investigation. The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide campaign launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to crack down on child abuse.

By Garrett Pelican – Digital executive producer
Posted: 12:13 PM, December 08, 2017

Copyright 2017 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

Source: News 4 JAX

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Friday, March 11, 2016

Additional Federal Child Exploitation Charges For Former Live Oak Police Sergeant

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment against Kyle Adam Kirby (35, Live Oak) charging him with production, attempted production, and possession of child pornography. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, up to 30 years, in federal prison on each of the production and attempted production charges, and up to 30 years’ imprisonment on each of the possession charges. Kirby was arrested on October 27, 2015, and is being detained pending his trial. His arraignment on the superseding indictment is scheduled for March 24, 2016.

According to court documents, FBI agents and other law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant at Kirby’s residence as the result of an online child pornography investigation. That same morning, the Live Oak police chief authorized the agents to inspect and search the computer located inside Kirby’s patrol car.  A forensic examination of the patrol car computer used by Kirby revealed that it contained images depicting minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. 

A superseding indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.  

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit