Naples spy game

(To Gino Lanzara)

The Cold War ended (presumably) with the fall of the Berlin Wall; what is not finished is the spy game that has continued to perpetuate itself albeit in different ways. The actors, be they new, old, or returned to the scene after more or less long periods of absence from the scene, have remained the same, given the substantial immutability of hegemonic and political interests on the regional and global stages.

The arrest for espionage in favor of Russia of a senior officer of the Armée, a lieutenant colonel serving at the NATO Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, more than a spy story, as has been largely reported by numerous generalist newspapers, leads to think of a series of elements worthy of further study.

The officer, arrested by the French counterintelligence (DGSI)1 at the end of the holiday period, he was meanwhile transferred to the Parisian prison of Santè for an attack on security, as he was suspected of having provided GRU2 Russian high-ranking secrecy documents. The detention, reported by Radio Europe1, a generalist radio broadcaster based in Paris and owned by the Lagardère Group, was confirmed by the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly. Europe1 was obliged to communicate a data most likely already known to the counterparty, also taking care to publicly underline that this was an operation already underway for several days.

The arrested officer is 50 years old, father of 5 children, is of Russian descent, is fluent in Russian, and having been noticed along with a Moscow intelligence agent, he would have aroused the need to dig deeper into his reports.

The story, as mentioned, raises several questions, in the meantime connected to what apparently seems to be a truly Marchian imprudence (having made himself noticed with dangerous companies). Wanting to take the events belonging to the Cold War as a paradigm, the question remains as to what the bargaining chip may have been, in a period in which it is difficult to recognize particular ideological inspirations a la Kim Philby.

Obviously, the case is an event of rare embarrassment for the Elysée, given the large number of French soldiers in service at the NATO base in Naples, a particularly important base within the Atlantic Alliance together with the Allied Command Operations of Brunssum, an element which led France to take the initiative, in accordance with art. 40 of its Code of Criminal Procedure, which obliges every public authority to report a crime or an infringement of which it is aware, and which has allowed a more than appropriate detention at the national prison administration.

For France, the case of the officer of the Armée (imprudently serving at NATO given his origins?) Adds to the other controversy which, recently, saw double agents for China inside the DGSE on the bar ( external intelligence), two retired old spies, however sentenced to 12 and 8 years in prison for exchanging information with the enemy and high treason.

Pending the evolution of a story that promises to be very interesting, we cannot fail to recall the importance of the Russian intelligence activity known in the West in recent years, starting from the case of Litvinenko's polonium, up to the Skripal case. In short, for Admiral Burke (photo opening), fresh from his appointment at the command of the JFC, the first real “grana”.

1 Directorate General of Homeland Security

2 Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation under the command of the General Staff

Photo: Allied Joint Force Command