Federal prosecutors on Friday charged a former Army Green Beret with conspiring with Russian intelligence operatives for decades and providing them with U.S. national defense information. Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, worked with the GRU from 1996 to 2011, according to the Department of Justice. Prosecutors allege that during his service to Russia, Debbins periodically visited and met with intelligence agents—and in 1997 was assigned the code name “Ikar Lesnikov.” He allegedly signed a statement saying he wanted to “serve” the foreign country. “Debbins is accused of giving Russian intelligence officers sensitive information about the units in which he once served and also providing the names of other service members so Russia could try to recruit them,” Alan E. Kohler, Jr., FBI Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, said in a statement.
The criminal complaint states that over the course of the 15-year conspiracy, Debbins allegedly provided the GRU with information he obtained from the U.S. Army, including details about chemical and Special Forces units. After leaving his active duty service in 2008, Debbins allegedly gave GRU agents “classified information about his previous activities while deployed with the Special Forces,” and provided them with “names of, and information about, his former Special Forces team members so that the agents could evaluate whether to approach the team members to see if they would cooperate with the Russian intelligence service.”