Leaked Document Reveals Russia’s Latest Efforts to Weaken the West


Welcome to this week’s Intelligence Brief… this week, coinciding with new revelations about cyberattacks linked to Russia and a series of concerning incidents that struck emergency systems in several states, a new document was revealed that outlines Russia’s aims to wage a campaign aimed at weakening the U.S. and other western nations. In our analysis, we’ll examine 1) what the secret Russian document reveals about the country’s ambitions, 2) recent revelations about cyberattacks on U.S. soil, and 3) why a recent series of 911 call system interruptions were foreshadowed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Quote of the Week

“We need to continue adjusting our approach to relations with unfriendly states.”

 – 2023 Russian Foreign Ministry Document

Latest News: Recently at The Debrief, we broke a story this week involving DARPA’s “ACE” program and the X-62A “VISTA,” which has become the first autonomous fighter jet in the world to successfully engage in aerial dogfighting maneuvers against a manned F-16. Elsewhere, astronomers have revealed why they think purple exoplanets could be teeming with alien life. You can find all of our recent stories at the end of this week’s newsletter. 

Podcasts: In the podcasts this week, the latest installment of The Debrief Weekly Report features Kenna and Stephanie discussing “blue energy” and a hunt for clues to find vanishing meteorites in Antarctica. Meanwhile, on The Micah Hanks Program, we take a look at the latest rebuttal to the Pentagon’s recent AARO historical report, as well as revelations about a secret program allegedly undertaken at Area 51 in the 1980s. You can subscribe to all The Debrief’s podcasts on our Podcasts Page.

Video News: On the latest installment of Rebelliously Curious, Chrissy Newton is joined by Kevin Lausten, President of Morpheus Space, to discuss the modern-day space race, space defense, space mobility, and Morpheus Space’s latest achievement, the GO-2. You can check out this interview and other great content from The Debrief on our official YouTube Channel.

With all the announcements out of the way, let’s shift our attention over to the latest revelations involving Russia’s efforts to weaken the U.S. and other Western nations, as revealed in a newly leaked secret document.

Russia’s Information Campaign Against the West

A once-secret document has revealed Russia’s plans to carry out an aggressive information campaign against Western nations involving psychological and economic tactics aimed at weakening the U.S. and its allies.

The revelations were reported this week by the Washington Post, which obtained a classified 2023 document obtained through the intelligence service of an unnamed European nation detailing the Russian Foreign Ministry’s plans to engage in “military-political, economic and trade and other informational psychological” tactics against the United States and its allies.

Russian Foreign Ministry
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Building in Moscow (Wikimedia Commons/CC 4.0)

Citing Russia’s relationship with several Western “unfriendly states,” the document describes the need for creating means by which Russia can exploit vulnerabilities in the policies of the U.S. and other nations. It provides documentary evidence for the long-held contention expressed by many that Russia is effectively waging “a hybrid war against the West.”

Cyberattacks on U.S. Soil

Coinciding with the publication of the Washington Post’s investigation into the 2023 Russian document, it was also revealed this week that a Texas water facility that experienced a tank overflow earlier this year was likely the result of a cyberattack, which experts have linked to Russian hackers.

The incident, which affected a water facility in Muleshoe, Texas, in January, was linked to a Russian hacking group that claimed responsibility for the cyberattack, as revealed by cybersecurity firm Mandiant on Wednesday.

(Billy Hathorn/CC 3.0)

The incident in Texas followed a similar hacking incident in Pennsylvania last November that has been attributed to Iran.

Although it remains unclear whether the Russian GRU military intelligence agency was directly involved, experts have warned that such incidents could represent a rise in efforts to target U.S. critical infrastructure. This tactic is seemingly in line with the revelations revealed by the Washington Post on Wednesday.

Emergency Services Outages

Also on Wednesday, it was reported that several 911 emergency services phone lines experienced a widespread outage throughout parts of several midwestern and southern U.S. states.

Incidents were reported in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Texas, and although several of the systems were restored, no official cause had been identified as of late on Wednesday.

Recently, concerns over cyberattack potentials prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue a warning involving Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems becoming targets by cybercriminals.

“NG911’s interconnections enable new response capabilities,” a DHS memorandum reads. “However, they also represent new vectors for attack that can disrupt or disable [Public Safety Answering Points] operations, broadening the concerns of―and complicating the mitigation and management of―cyber risks across all levels of government.”

While it remains unclear whether Wednesday’s interruption to service with several 911 telephone call lines may have been linked to cyberattacks, several similar outages that have occurred in recent years have been linked to such activities.

Russia’s Mood Toward the West

Last March, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation for publication. The document charges that the U.S. and its allies have leveraged the war in Ukraine to attempt to escalate what it characterizes as “anti-Russia policy,” despite Russia claiming to have “no ill intentions” toward the West, adding the country’s hope that Western nations will ultimately “accept the complicated realities of the multipolar world.”

The Moscow Kremlin (Credit: P. Kazachkov/CC 2.0).

Although the Russian Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the recent document obtained by the Washington Post, a statement the agency released nonetheless confirmed that Russia’s “mood is to decisively combat the aggressive steps taken by the collective West as part of the hybrid war launched against Russia.”

That concludes this week’s installment of The Intelligence Brief. You can read past editions of The Intelligence Brief at our website, or if you found this installment online, don’t forget to subscribe and get future email editions from us here. Also, if you have a tip or other information you’d like to send along directly to me, you can email me at micah [@] thedebrief [dot] org, or Tweet at me @MicahHanks.

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