Secrecy News

Document Denied: DHS Boosts Cooperation with Russian Intel

Two new U.S. Secret Service agents are to be stationed in Moscow this year, in accordance with a secret memorandum of understanding between the Department of Homeland Security and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), one of that country’s foreign intelligence agencies. (Correction: The FSB focuses primarily on internal security. Russia’s principal foreign intelligence agency is the Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki or SVR.)

The four-page memorandum of understanding was signed in November 2006 by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and the FSB Director.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Federation of American Scientists, DHS denied (pdf) the release of any portion of the document, citing FOIA exemption (7)(E) which protects law enforcement information.

The denial is being appealed. DHS officials have independently disclosed some of the contents of the memorandum.

Information about the document was first reported last December by Russia’s Tass News Agency. The DHS-FSB memorandum “envisages the exchange of information between the two sides on border control and related matters,” according to a Tass report.

DHS Acting Assistant Secretary Paul Rosenzweig described the agreement in a December 20, 2006 briefing.

“One of the products of [the new memorandum] is that either already or within the new year there will be two new Secret Service agents stationed in Moscow. [The Secret Service is now a DHS component -- SN] That’s a return to a post that has been vacant for quite some time which we’re very pleased about. There remain several other DHS people there already.”

“With Russia in particular, there’s been some very strong positive movement in the past six months, as reflected by the signing of this agreement,” Mr. Rosenzweig said.

0 thoughts on “Document Denied: DHS Boosts Cooperation with Russian Intel

  1. In a typical lapsus calami, you refer to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) as “that country’s foreign intelligence agency.” The FSB inherited most of the former KGB’s Chief Directorates except for the First Chief Directorate /PGU/ which today is Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service /SVR/.

  2. Steve, a small correction: The Federal Security Service (FSB) is not Russia’s foreign intelligence agency. Although the FSB does have some limited foreign intelligence functions, its main responsibilities are internal security and counterintelligence/counterterrorism. Foreign intelligence is handled by a separate agency known as the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). In Soviet times, these were part of a unified KGB, but they were divided into separate agencies in late 1991 in the aftermath of the failed coup. They remained separate agencies after the Russian government took them over at the end of 1991.

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