As the Russian government continues a crackdown on outside information and opposition to the Kremlin’s months-long invasion of Ukraine, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is offering Russians opposed to the war a secure way to get in touch with US intelligence – on the darknet.
A CIA official said that the Agency began on Monday a new push to promote its presence on the darknet, a part of the internet accessible only through specialized tools that provide more anonymity, so that individuals can contact them securely from anywhere.
The official said there are concerned Russians who are desperately trying to reach the CIA but it’s not safe for them to directly engage with the CIA physically or virtually, declining to tell the number of people that had tried to reach out since the war began.
CIA’s darknet site has the same features as its regular homepage but is accessible only through the Tor internet browser with encryption features unavailable on most regular browsers.
Originally created with support from the US Naval Research Laboratory and run by a non-profit since 2006, Tor has long been used by those seeking extra privacy.
Ever since its launch in 2019, the agency’s darknet site has proved valuable in securely eliciting information from individuals all over the world.
Russians who feel compelled to reach the CIA because of the Moscow’s unjust war, as the official noted, are now provided with Russian-language instructions on how to safely contact the CIA via its Dark Web site or a reputable VPN, which appeared Monday on the CIA’s social media channels, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram,
CIA also hopes that Russians living abroad can share the instructions with their contacts inside Russia since it remains critical for Western intelligence agencies to recruit human sources for first-hand insight into the Kremlin and conditions inside the country despite the immense capabilities to capture communications and satellite imagery.