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.
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