06MOSCOW13001, PATRUSHEV’S NEST OF DANISH SPIES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW13001 2006-12-20 14:46 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO0069
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #3001 3541446
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201446Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5971
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4965

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 013001 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PREF RS
SUBJECT: PATRUSHEV'S NEST OF DANISH SPIES 
 
Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Alice Wells. 
Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
 1.  (SBU) FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev alleged that 
foreign intelligence services were increasingly using NGOs 
and press bureaus as cover in his annual year-end review 
December 19.  Speaking on the eve of the day in honor of the 
security services, Patrushev singled out the Danish Refugee 
Council (DRC) and accused it of employing terrorists, 
diverting aid, and collecting "biased information." 
Patrushev said that a DRC employee had been arrested for 
terrorism in July when a homemade bomb was found in his car 
during a traffic stop.  He also alleged that DRC had sent 
Danish employees with experience in intelligence gathering to 
work in Russia.  DRC had collected information on social, 
political, and economic conditions in the North Caucasus, as 
well as information on military matters and the potential for 
new outbreaks of violence, he said. 
 
2.  (C) Patrushev, other Russian officials, and Russian media 
have made similar allegations that NGOs, including in those 
in the North Caucasus, have links to foreign intelligence. 
Expatriates working for NGOs in the North Caucasus have told 
us repeatedly that they are assumed to be spies.  They are 
watched closely by English-speaking FSB agents in the region 
and are occasionally asked to come in for interviews with 
them.  In October, NTV aired a highly critical documentary 
about foreign aid groups in the North Caucasus, including an 
interview with a DRC official, repeating what have become 
familiar charges of aid diverted to rebels, terrorist 
employees, and corruption.  Earlier this year, the FSB 
claimed that it had uncovered a British spy network linked to 
Russian NGOs.  In May 2005, Patrushev  said that U.S., 
British and other foreign NGOs provided cover for foreign 
intelligence agents.  Included in Patrushev's charges were 
the Peace Corps, the British NGO Merlin, the Saudi Red 
Crescent Society, and the Society of Social Reforms and 
Society for Islamic Revival, both based in Kuwait. 
 
3.  (C) A DRC staff member in the North Caucasus said 
December 20 that the NGO had been surprised by Patrushev's 
remarks.  There had been no unusual FSB interest in its 
activities, and it was operating normally.  She noted that 
DRC had quickly been re-registered by the Federal 
Registration Service.  She confirmed that a DRC employee had 
been arrested and convicted on charges of terrorism earlier 
this year, but his confession appeared to have been coerced. 
DRC continued to submit all local staff for background checks 
by the authorities, including the FSB and the Russian 
military.  And it continued to be praised for its work by 
federal and local authorities, including the MFA, PolPred 
Kozak, and the Chechen Government.  (NOTE:  DRC has also 
tried to develop a good working relationship with the FSB and 
has regular contacts with them in the North Caucasus and 
Moscow.  END NOTE).  A contact at the Danish Embassy said 
they considered the allegations as part of Patrushev's annual 
report on the FSB's achievements and stressed that the 
allegations are unfounded.  The Danish Government had no 
plans to issue a statement, he said. 
 
4.  (C) COMMENT:  GOR harassment of and allegations of 
espionage against foreign NGOS in the North Caucasus are 
cyclical, and usually pass without any long-term effect on 
their operations.  As the largest NGO in the region, DRC is 
an easy target for Patrushev in a year that has largely 
focused on GOR suspicions of NGOs and the need to regulate 
them.  We know of nothing that would substantiate the 
allegations against DRC.  END COMMENT. 
RUSSELL

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