The US secret service released a video on Telegram urging Russian civilians to come forward with intelligence.
The CIA called on Russian civilians to provide it with intelligence about their country on Monday, in a Telegram video targeting those unhappy with President Vladimir Putin’s policies.
The brief video from the US intelligence agency features a Russian official and his wife in their home with a child, apparently having a difficult life.
It suggests ordinary Russians can do something to make things better by providing intelligence to the CIA – while remaining patriotic.
“The CIA wants to know the truth about Russia, and we are looking for reliable people who can tell us that truth,” the agency said in the video. “Your information may be more valuable than you know.”
They have used other social networks in the past but are now focusing on the encrypted Telegram network because it is a popular way for Russians to find out about politics and the war in Ukraine, a CIA official told AFP.
Many senior Russian – and Ukrainian – officials have Telegram accounts, which have millions of subscribers.
The video also details how information can be sent using the Tor browser to access the dark web and tools to encrypt communications.
“Our goal is to provide them with as safe a way as possible to contact us,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
The agency hopes that by showing simple ways of leaking information on the “dark web”, the CIA will convince the hesitant to take the plunge.
The CIA said it was interested in all kinds of information, including political and economic and hoped to make contact with people working in intelligence, diplomacy, science and technology and other fields.
The US is not trying to provoke an insurgency or regime change in Moscow, but hopes that some Russians will see a way to help their country move forward by tipping off the CIA, the source said.
US intelligence has been after scores of Russians for alleged involvement in a variety of crimes and intelligence sourced from civilians could be vital in arresting them.
He said similar campaigns on other social networks, most of which are now blocked in Russia, had worked.
“Contact us,” the CIA insisted. “Maybe people around you don’t want the truth. We want it.”