Spy scandal in Yerevan: Azerbaijani intelligence recruits Armenian servicemen on social media
Spy network in Armenia
The National Security Service of Armenia announced that it had identified and neutralized a spy network operating in the country. It is reported that dozens of Armenian servicemen were involved in it. 19 people have already been detained, some of them have already confessed.
According to the NSS statement, the network was created by foreign intelligence services. In the video, which was distributed by the press service of the department, one of the officers, in his testimony, clarifies that he met “with employees of the special services of Azerbaijan” on Facebook.
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Officers were recruited by “Armenian women”
The SNB report describes how the spy network was created. It is said that in order to reduce the risk of exposure, fake accounts of supposedly Armenian women were opened on social media with personal photographs. Those women would then itroduce themselves to Armenian officers.
All employees of foreign intelligence services were fluent in Armenian, these “network acquaintances were transformed into close relationships.” Then the servicemen were offered to provide information about the armed forces of Armenia for a certain remuneration.
In particular, they were asked about the location of troops, the number and types of military and engineering equipment, details about the personnel and command staff of military units, the deployment of defensive structures.
The attention of the special services was attracted by the Armenian military, who, according to their official status, had access to this kind of information. The recruits transmitted both information known to them and found out additional information that was of interest to the intelligence officers who contacted them. The data was transmitted using mobile applications.
The National Security Service of Armenia assessed the behavior of the citizens of Armenia involved in the agent network as “treacherous actions against their state”.
“The accusations are not unfounded”
The department reports that the identities of the recruited officers were established “as part of large-scale operational actions”. These are the military, who held various positions in the Armed Forces, who had access to documents containing official state secrets. The National Security Service assures that the volume and nature of the transferred information have been clarified, and the transfer of more data has been prevented.
In a statement, the National Security Service of Armenia says that there is all evidence of cooperation with foreign intelligence services “in exchange for paying for a network of agents whose hostile activities were directed against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and external security of Armenia”. Checks were also found confirming the receipt of a fee in foreign currency.
It is reported that during the investigation, more than 30 searches were carried out, official documents were identified and seized, including the original, as well as “objects of significant importance for the criminal case”.