Oh Good: The KGB Is Back

Posted: Sep 28, 2016 9:40 AM

Remember this exchange from the 2012 presidential election? 

Turns out Mitt Romney was right, again.

In recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine, shot down a Malaysia airliner with hundreds of innocent passengers on board, bolstered the alliance with Iran and sided with Assad in Syria while establishing a strong presence in the Middle East. Just two weeks ago, a Russian jet made an "unsafe encounter" with a U.S. military aircraft and earlier this year, Russians pilots were buzzing U.S. ships. Now, Putin has resurrected the KGB. From POLITICO

Soon after he was first appointed prime minister back in 1999, Vladimir Putin joked to an audience of top intelligence officers that a group of undercover spies, dispatched to infiltrate the government, was “successfully fulfilling its task.”

It turns out Putin doesn’t do jokes. Over Putin’s years in power, not just the Kremlin but almost every branch of the Russian state has been taken over by old KGB men like himself.

Last week news broke that their resurgence is soon to be topped off with a final triumph — the resurrection of the old KGB itself. According to the Russian daily Kommersant, a major new reshuffle of Russia’s security agencies is under way that will unite the FSB (the main successor agency to the KGB) with Russia’s foreign intelligence service into a new super-agency called the Ministry of State Security — a report that, significantly, wasn’t denied by the Kremlin or the FSB itself.

The new agency, which revives the name of Stalin’s secret police between 1943 and 1953, will be as large and powerful as the old Soviet KGB, employing as many as 250,000 people.

Meanwhile, new reports show the White House made an effort to silence Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Adam Schiff over inquiries into Russian plans to meddle in the U.S. presidential election in November through hacking.

The White House sought to muzzle two of Congress’s top intelligence officials when they decided to publicly accuse Russia of meddling in the US election last week, sources familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News.

In a statement released Friday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff, the vice-chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees respectively, formally accused Russia of attempting to influence the US election. It was the first official, on-record confirmation from US government officials that the Kremlin is actively working to manipulate public confidence in the country’s election system.

But sources tell BuzzFeed News that the White House — which has stayed silent despite mounting pressure to call out its Moscow adversaries — tried to delay the statement’s release. The public accusation was of such concern to the administration that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was personally involved in the negotiations over releasing it, according to a congressional source.

FBI Director James Comey confirmed Wednesday during congressional testimony that the agency is investigating Russian efforts to disrupt U.S. elections.