Thursday, May 12, 2005

There goes my career in the Peace Corps

In the wake of Putin's nostalgic comments and a look back at the victories of the Great Patriotic War, Russians continue to get paranoid. Of course, then again, I am sure we are spying on them.

U.S., British and other foreign nongovermental organizations are providing cover for professional spies in Russia, while Western organizations are bankrolling plans to stage peaceful revolutions in Belarus and other former Soviet republics bordering Russia, Federal Security Service director Nikolai Patrushev told the State Duma on Thursday.

Patrushev said the FSB has monitored and exposed intelligence gathering activities carried out by the U.S. Peace Corps, the British-based Merlin medical relief charity, Kuwait's Society of Social Reforms and the Saudi Red Crescent Society.

He said foreign secret services rely on NGOs to collect information and promote the interests of their countries.

"The imperfectness of the legislation and lack of efficient mechanisms for state oversight creates a fertile ground for conducting intelligence operations under the guise of charity and other activities," Patrushev said in televised remarks.

He said a bill to regulate the activities of foreign NGOs will be submitted "soon" to the Duma. He said the bill would change registration procedures for foreign NGOs, but did not elaborate.

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