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Russia not increasing intelligence activities in the USA, say veterans

Moscow, 7 June: State Duma committee member and retired Federal Security Service [FSB] Col Gennadiy Gudkov believes that the leaders of the US security service are spreading desinformation to the public about the activities of their Russian colleagues.

"The US security service is solving its financial problems by telling scary stories about Russian espionage," Gudkov told Interfax, commenting on the statement by the [US] Executive of the Office of the National Counterintelligence, Joel Brenner, in which he said that the activity of Russian intelligence in the USA is back at the level of the Cold War.

"Russian intelligence cannot yet return to the level where it was before the beginning of the 1990s. The reason is simple: Russia does not have the same possibilities, including economic, political and ideological [possibilities], that the Soviet Union had. So it is simply stupid to say that our intelligence is as active as before the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The US special services are probably trying to attract extra funding, by obviously overstating the Russian threat," Gudkov said.

As regards the current state of the Russian intelligence, it is only possible to talk about restoring its normal capacity for work, but nothing more, Gudkov believes.

[Passage omitted: repeat]

[Brenners statements are an attempt to justify increased intelligence activities on the part of the USA itself, Russian intelligence veteran Igor Prelin was quoted as saying by Interfax report at 1012 gmt on 7 June.

"Apparently the Americans have some reasons or they really want to believe that Russia has increased its [intelligence] activities, so that they can justify the increase in their own intelligence activities. The Americans would not look good if Russia worked less or were less active, and the USA itself was more active in its intelligence activities," the report quoted Prelin as saying.

"If Brenner is saying that Russia has reached Soviet levels, then I can say that American intelligence has surpassed that level long ago and by many times," Prelin also said, according to the report.

"After some years of 'pseudo-friendship' between our countries, when the Russian special services tried to decrease their activities in the USA, while the USA did not lower its activity, Russia had to take adequate measures. The same thing is taking place in all other areas now: military construction, foreign policy and many other areas," Prelin was quoted as saying.].