Russian Minister express concerns over classified intel safety

MOSCOW: Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has highlighted concerns about Western efforts to gather information on Russian defense production by targeting industry experts, referring to it as an active pursuit.

In comparison, approaching experts for information might be a more strategic approach for spies than engaging with soldiers, who are more adept at detecting espionage.

Western intelligence agencies are well aware of this tactic, as they have been practicing it among themselves. In essence, all espionage aims at gaining an economic advantage, whether in conflict or war, where the outcome influences future economic positions, or through the theft of economically valuable secrets and the manipulation of trade or competition.

Despite public declarations of unity and solidarity, the focus on the military conflict between Russia and the Western military alliance through Ukraine overshadows the reality that, given the opportunity, Western leaders would prioritize economic interests over cooperation. The Ukraine conflict has accentuated the perception of Germany as an economic rival in the eyes of the United States.

This rivalry was evident in Washington’s historical criticism of Germany’s Nord Stream gas pipeline before its mysterious disruption. The current scenario involves the U.S. enticing German companies to relocate with green tax incentives and ample energy, contributing to German deindustrialization. The U.S. has long considered Germany a significant competitor on the global stage since the early ’90s.

In 1995, the Los Angeles Times reported that President Bill Clinton’s administration directed the CIA to “take economic espionage off the back burner,” and that even before Clinton, “it became clear that economic rivalry with industrial superpowers such as Japan and Germany was being viewed by the White House and Congress as a critical national security issue following the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

By 1999, the European press was reporting the theft of wind turbine blueprints from German company Enercon, to the benefit of an American rival. The US electronic espionage service (the National Security Agency) was blamed for it, and for targeting at least 30 German firms.

Berlin was apparently so outraged by US spying that its BND foreign spy service actually helped the same NSA industrially spy on German business interests and on its neighbor and fellow US ally, France, for over a decade in the wake of this incident, as the German press reported in 2015.

It’s no secret that the Franco-German-led Airbus Group (the known as EADS) is really the only major global rival to Pentagon contractor and commercial jet maker Boeing, yet Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported at the time that Germany helped the US spy on it, too. So when current German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stood beside Biden before the Ukraine conflict and smiled while the latter mused like a mafioso about taking care of the Nord Stream pipeline of cheap Russian gas, it wasn’t the only time that Berlin appeared enthusiastic about bending over for Washington.

Washington also long considered France to be an industrial powerhouse, particularly under former President Charles de Gaulle, whose official policy of nuclear power development turned the country into a cheap energy powerhouse to rival American industry – and therefore into a target for US industrial spying.

Disclaimer: The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of TSN

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