Russian Intelligence Essay

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Russian & Chinese Intelligence

PRC & RUSSION INTELLIGENCE: Any reviewer of the intelligence structures of Russia and the People's Republic of China can see that size and complexity still matter. They each have intensive and comprehensive structural forces with targeted elements designed to achieve certain aims. While it is likely that each has grown with an eye toward the other, often it is said that the Chinese Ministry of State Security (which came into being in 1983) mirrors the Russian structure that formally came into being in 1995 but that is grounded on past KGB activities and methods.

The following are brief overviews of the Chinese MSS[footnoteRef:1] and the Russian FSB[footnoteRef:2], which is the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. The summaries provide a foundation for seeing the similarities and the differences and suggest why the Chinese version is probably more profitable for them in the long run. [1: Global Security, Ministry of State Security. (accessed December 14, 2011). ] [2: Russian Statutes. Text of Statute on Federal Security Service of Russian Federation and Structure of Federal Security Service Agencies. Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 15 August 2003. (accessed on December 14, 2011). 1-15.]

RFSB: The Russian FSB has an impressive scope of responsibility. The statutes of 2003, signed by President Putin, state that it is charged to, defend and protect the state borders of the Russian Federation (hereafter referred to as the state border), protect internal waterways, the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone, and the continental shelf of the Russian Federation and their natural resources, safeguard the information security of the Russian Federation and the main areas of activity of agencies of the Federal Security Service as defined in laws of the Russian Federation, and coordinate the counterintelligence operations of federal agencies of the executive branch of government authorized to conduct them.[footnoteRef:3] [3: Ibid, 3.]

The directives that brought this about first appeared in 1995 following the fall of the Soviet Empire. It was said that the many changes were being done to reigning in and redirect authority and the expenditure of resources toward other, more pressing needs as the country transitioned to a more open government. Many sources now dispute this and suggest that, if anything, the RFSB has not changed dramatically and stays closely connected to its past. It has been noted that the RSFB is actually quite proud of the good and bad actions of its predecessor organization, the KGB, such that it has an annual celebration of the ties.[footnoteRef:4] [4 R.F. Starr and C.A. Tacosa, Russia's Security Services. Mediterranean Quarterly. Winter 2004. 40.]

There are some 15 objectives that the RSFB is said to follow, and 74 independent functions identified to ensure that those objectives are met.[footnoteRef:5] The objectives have to deal with command and control, planning and reporting expectations, with the bulk of authority working its way through the service directly back up to President of the Federation (whom many feel is still Putin). The functions are broadly based and allow for virtually any operational direction that the security operations require. The specific sections cover intelligence, business and even health and educational requirements for the public or military personnel. A governing collegium made up of appointed and ex-officio members oversees the Director, but it is the President and his authority that continues to wield the final authority on what is to be accomplished. The President has the authority to remove the director. [5: Ibid, 2-10.]

It would not be long after Putin signed the RFSB into existence that other new laws were enacted taking authority from other departments and putting them within the RFSB. The department says it oversees much of the internal and national security of Russia, and also fights against crime and corruption. Starr and Tacosa report that some 100 people or more were charged with corruption, but with upwards of 25% to 30% of the employees hired by Russia in various internal and external capacities having a strong allegiance to the RFSB, 100 convictions for wrong-doing is a small number. The RFSB notes directly that it is not a "volunteer" service that relies on the good graces of its people; instead, it relies on military and related professionals to be experts in their tasks. In about 2001, this became more apparent in the foreign services sector when it was ordered to turn toward information technology concerns associated with the country's computer networks. This challenge and exercise of power by Putin was seen by some as being a broad reach for authority, similar to that he undertook at the same time to crack down with "antiterrorist" laws to control places like Chechnya -- something that his critics are now using against him in demonstrations.

CMSS: Looking at the Chinese system suggests other intentions even when they appear on some levels to be more concerned with strict espionage activities. The Chinese security infrastructure began to take shape in 1983 following many years of Communist reaffirmation of their authority. Though broadly based as well, the MSS's mission was pretty clear:

In June 1983 the National People's Congress, perceiving a growing threat of subversion and sabotage, established the Ministry of State Security under the State Council. The new ministry was charged with ensuring the security of the state through effective measures against enemy agents, spies, and counterrevolutionary activities designed to sabotage or overthrow China's socialist system.[footnoteRef:6] [6: Global Security, 2. ]

As with the RSFB, the MSS has a number of operational elements. It uses 12 focused Bureaus that deal with the specifics of domestic, foreign, technological, information and targeted activities.[footnoteRef:7] Professionals are hired for specific tasks. Others citizens, however, are also encouraged to become agents for the government, often times to be dispatched to other countries as part of long-term infiltration and learning missions. China is well-known for having people in a variety of capacities who may spend their career learning about important topics and reporting information back to their government. [7: Ibid, 4-8.]

With the September 2001 attacks on the United States, China switched to confirm its relationship with Russia (for fear the U.S. would in response to the Taliban). It is thought that they did so in a different way, however, putting in place a greater focus on economic spying and infiltration. They now rely strongly on students, travelers, business people and scientists to gather information, oftentimes over extended periods. Basically, these efforts have three components:

The first was the recruitment of agents, especially scholars and scientists, in the PRC before they were sent abroad to purchase information. The second model used Chinese firms to purchase U.S. companies with the desired technology. The third method was the purchase of technology through Chinese front companies. This third model was the most commonly used.[footnoteRef:8] [8: Ibid, 3. ]

It could well be because of this that many people in the world see Chinese spying activities as more an extension of good marketing practices than just hardcore deception, as can be seen in a number of articles on this very topic.[footnoteRef:9] If correct, this suggests a major distinction between CMSS and RFSB practices. [9: Cooper, D.M. How China Steals U.S. Military Secrets. Popular Mechanics. July 10, 2009. (accessed December 14, 2011).]

SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES: There are many common elements between the two systems besides the overall size of their systems. Each government has a great number of security elements. They both pay their people to be involved in these activities, but the Chinese seem more committed to utilizing ordinary citizens as information gatherers. While the RSFB exerts harsh top-down leadership, the Chinese use other methods. They basically "invest" in their information gathering systems by dispatching their spies to work their way into or even to purchase companies and products abroad and learn about the business and military environments. They have thus made…[continue]

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