Peter Debbins gave Moscow secret information about the work of the units in which he served in 1998-2008.
Former U.S. Special Forces officer Peter Debbins on Wednesday pleaded guilty to conspiring with Russian intelligence officers and providing them with information on U.S. national defense. This was reported on the website of the US Department of Justice.
According to court records, the former U.S. serviceman began cooperating with Russian intelligence agencies in December 1996. Until January 2011, Debbins passed on information to the Russians concerning U.S. national defense, met with Russian intelligence agents and even periodically visited Russia. In 1997, Russian intelligence gave Debbins an agent’s nickname, and at the same time he signed a statement confirming that he “wants to serve Russia”.
Debbins joined the U.S. Armed Forces in 1998, i.e. after he had been recruited by the Russian security services. Until 2005, he served in the chemical troops of the U.S. Army, and then joined the special forces, becoming a “green beret. The Ministry of Justice said that the idea of continuing Debbins’ military career in special forces belonged to the Russian intelligence. As a result, Moscow’s secret agent served for many years in the Special Forces, having received the rank of captain.
Debbins provided Russian intelligence agents with information about the activities of chemical units and special purpose units, where he served. In 2008, after his retirement from the Army, he provided Russian intelligence with classified information relating to his service and also provided the names and personal data of former Special Forces colleagues. This information was required by the Russians to assess whether other Green Berets could be recruited.
“President Kennedy called the Green Berets a symbol of superior service, a sign of valor and distinction. Debbins’ actions have become a symbol of betrayal, a sign of cowardice, betrayal and treason,” said Alan Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, during a court hearing. “He swore an oath of loyalty to Russia and thus betrayed his country and his fellow SWAT officers.
The sentence will be passed on Debbins on February 26, 2021. The maximum penalty that threatens to be imposed on the charges against him is life imprisonment, but most often federal judges give lenient sentences for such crimes, taking into account recommendations in the Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.