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[casi] Russian intelligence now in Baghdad

Today from RFE/RL :

... Agents of the Foreign Intelligence Service and Russian military
intelligence (GRU) are meeting daily with high-ranking members of President
Saddam Hussein's intelligence agencies to discuss the developing situation
in Iraq, "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 27 March.

It reported that two Zaslon (shield) special-purpose SVR detachments have
been sent to Iraq, and noted that the security of Russian diplomatic
missions is the responsibility of the Federal Border Guard Service, which
was recently merged into the Federal Security Service.

"Nezavisimaya gazeta" speculates that the Russian intelligence stations in
Baghdad have been ordered to evacuate the archives of the Iraqi secret
services to Russia prior to the fall of Hussein's regime.

The topic might have been discussed last month when Hussein met with former
Prime Minister Yevgenii Primakov, who is also a former SVR head the paper

If Moscow is able to acquire Hussein's secret-service archives, it will gain
access to the Iraqi intelligence network and thereby get control of a
crucial lever of influence in postwar Iraq.

Moreover, these archives might contain information about possible weapons of
mass destruction.

However, the newspaper notes that experts believe Hussein would have ordered
such documents destroyed when it became clear that the U.S.-led coalition
would attack. According to the paper, the CIA and Britain's MI-6, which are
already active in Iraq, are also bent on acquiring these records.

However, while Western agents are working secretly and in a hostile
environment, Russian intelligence agents have the advantage of working more
or less openly from the Russian Embassy, the daily noted. It is possible
that the archives could end up at the embassy, which is protected by
extraterritoriality, the newspaper concluded.

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