CIA seeks to recruit Russian officials with video about truth

CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia

MOSCOW (Reuters) -The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which is trying to recruit more Russians as spies, has released a video targeting Moscow officials with an appeal to tell the truth about a system it said is riddled with lying sycophants.

CIA Director William Burns said in July that disaffection among some Russians over the war in Ukraine was creating a rare opportunity to recruit spies, and that the CIA was not letting it pass.

The agency released the video in Russian entitled "Why I made contact with the CIA - for myself" on social media which shows what is clearly supposed to be a Russian official walking through the snow of what looks like a Russian city.

"I insisted to everyone that it was unscrupulous to distort the truth in reports but those who rose through the ranks were those who did that very thing," the voice over says in Russian.

"Before I believed that the truth had some value," the video shows as the actor playing a Russian official enters a Russian government building and shows his pass above the double-headed eagle of Russia.

"Those around you may not want to hear the truth. But we do," the video says before detailing ways to contact the CIA, which is based in Langley, Virginia. "Integrity has rewards."

After major failures over the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. war in Iraq, U.S. and British spy agencies claimed an intelligence victory over the Russian invasion of Ukraine by warning of the Kremlin's plans way in advance.

Moscow is so difficult for Western spies to operate in that they developed "Moscow Rules" in Soviet times to guard against complacency. It has been updated for modern Russia.

Russia accuses Britain and the United States of supporting Ukraine in an attempt to cleave Russia apart and grab its natural resources - assertions Washington and London deny.

Putin, a former KGB spy who served in what used to be East Germany, has restored some of the clout of the once-mighty Soviet intelligence agencies though the CIA says the Kremlin chief was poorly informed about the real situation in Ukraine ahead of his decision to invade.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Angus MacSwan)