U.S. Army Condemns Officer Who Spied for Russia, Received Vodka and Military Uniforms for Recruiting Others

The U.S. Army has condemned those who "betray the oaths they swore" after a former Green Beret Captain was charged with allegedly sharing military secrets with Russia for years.

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, is accused of espionage after being charged with conspiring to provide United States national defense information to agents of a foreign government on Friday.

Debbins is alleged to have conspired with Russian intelligence agents between 1996 and 2011. The Justice Department said Debbins was even given a code name by Russian intelligence and had signed a statement attesting that he wanted to serve Russia.

According to The New York Times, Debbins handed over sensitive military information and the names of fellow service members so Russia so they could try and recruit them.

In exchange, Debbins received money and gifts including bottles of liquor and a Russian military uniform.

After charges were brought forward against Debbins, the U.S. Army issued a statement on the spying allegations.

"The Army is tasked with the great responsibility of protecting our nation and its adversaries and soldiers make incredible sacrifices in service to that responsibility," the statement said.

"When any soldier among our ranks colludes to provide classified information to our foreign adversaries, they betray the oaths they swore to their country and duty owed to their fellow soldiers. If true, the facts alleged in the case of this former army officer area betrayal; to his soldiers and his country."

Prosecutors also condemned the spying allegations brought against Debbins.

"The facts alleged in this case are a shocking betrayal by a former Army officer of his fellow soldiers and his country," said Alan E. Kohler, Jr., FBI Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division.

"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. These actions cannot stand and the FBI will aggressively pursue such cases."

James A. Dawson, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office added: "According to the allegations, Mr Debbins knowingly provided information to self-proclaimed members of Russia's Intelligence Service, the GRU.

"As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, the American people and his fellow servicemen and women should have been able to trust Debbins with secrets and information. Debbins allegedly fell very short of that and exploited his role in the military and his fellow service members to benefit one of our top adversaries for years."

If convicted, Debbins faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Debbins is the second government official to be charged with espionage in a week.

On Monday, August 17, former CIA officer Alexander Yuk Ching was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to work with a relative of his, also a former CIA officer, to provide Top Secret level intelligence to China.

"The trail of Chinese espionage is long and, sadly, strewn with former American intelligence officers who betrayed their colleagues, their country and its liberal democratic values to support an authoritarian communist regime," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

"This betrayal is never worth it. Whether immediately, or many years after they thought they got away with it, we will find these traitors and we will bring them to justice."

army
(File photo) U.S. Marines with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. step off in the early morning during an operation to push out Taliban fighters on July 18, 2009 in Herati, Afghanistan. The U.S. Army has condemned those who “betray the oaths they swore” after a former Green Beret Captain was charged with sharing military secrets with Russia. Joe Raedle/Getty
U.S. Army Condemns Officer Who Spied for Russia, Received Vodka and Military Uniforms for Recruiting Others | U.S.