Former U.S. Special Forces officer Peter Debbins pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring with Russian intelligence officials to provide them with information on U.S. national defense. This is stated in a message published on the website of the US Department of Justice.
According to court records, the former American soldier began cooperating with the Russian special services in December 1996. Until January 2011, Debbins conveyed information regarding US national defense to the Russians, met with agents of the Russian special services, and even occasionally visited Russia. In 1997, Russian intelligence assigned Debbins an agent pseudonym, then he signed a statement in which he confirmed that he “wants to serve Russia.”
Debbins joined the US Armed Forces in 1998, that is, after he was recruited by the Russian secret services. Until 2005, he served in the chemical forces of the US Army, and then moved to the special forces, becoming a “green beret.” The Justice Department said in a statement that the idea of continuing Debbins’ military career in special forces belonged to Russian intelligence. As a result, the secret agent of Moscow served for many years in the ranks of the special forces, receiving the rank of captain.
Debbins provided Russian intelligence agents with information on the activities of the chemical units and special forces in which he served. In 2008, after terminating his service in the Army, he handed over secret information regarding his service to Russian intelligence, and also provided the names and personal data of former fellow special forces officers. This information was required by the Russians to assess the possible recruitment of other Green Berets.
“President Kennedy described the Green Berets as a symbol of excellent service, valor and distinction. Debbins’ actions became a symbol of betrayal, a sign of cowardice, betrayal and treason, – said during the court hearings Alan Kohler Jr., assistant director of the counterintelligence department of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, – He took an oath of loyalty to Russia and thereby betrayed his country and his fellow special forces. ” …
Debbins will be sentenced on February 26, 2021. The maximum sentence he faces on the charges is life imprisonment, but most often federal judges impose lighter sentences for such crimes, taking into account the recommendations of the Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.