Feds charge former Green Beret with espionage with Russia

By MATTHEW BARAKAT Associated Press
This booking photo provided by the Alexandria, Va, Sheriff's Office, shows Peter Debbins, a former Army Green Beret, who was arrested Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, for allegedly conspiring with Russian intelligence operatives to provide them with United States national defense information. (Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) – Federal prosecutors have charged a former Army Green Beret living in northern Virginia with divulging military secrets about his unit’s activities in former Soviet republics over more than a decade of contacts with Russian intelligence.

Prosecutors said Friday that 45-year-old Peter Debbins of Gainesville periodically met Russian intelligence as far back as 1996 and was even assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents in 1997.

According to an indictment Debbins considered himself a “son of Russia” and believed the U.S. “needed to be cut down in size.”

Debbins was arrested Friday and will make an initial court appearance in Alexandria on Monday.

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