Putin’s Perfect Cover

Grungy Flags of Soviet Union and USA
Low key photography of grungy old Soviet Union and United States of America flags. USSR, CCCP, USA.

By Steven L. Hall

Steven L. Hall retired from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2015 after 30 years of running and managing intelligence operations in Eurasia and Latin America.  Mr. Hall served as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service, the small cadre of officers who are the senior-most leaders of the CIA's Clandestine Service.  Most of Mr. Hall's career was spent abroad, overseeing intelligence operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the former Warsaw Pact.

This week, Russia test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from its new nuclear submarine, as Facebook says Moscow is stepping up its efforts to spread disinformation in Africa.  That’s just this week.  Going back a few more days, U.S. and British officials say Russian hackers piggy-backed on an Iranian spy operation that targeted dozens of countries and then don’t forget that it was Russia that stepped in to enforce a ceasefire in Syria alongside Turkish troops.  When you combine the headlines and look for trends, you start to see that it’s not a bad time to be Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s current political relationship with the United States couldn’t provide better cover for Putin, according to Cipher Brief Expert Steven L. Hall, who ran and managed intelligence operations for the CIA for 30 years in Eurasia and Latin America.  Hall also oversaw intelligence operations in the former Soviet Union.  We wanted his take on Russia’s recent activities and why he also thinks these are fantastic times for the Russian President.

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.


Related Articles