The Russian secret services have a “craze” for documents, even if they contain no information. Edward Luttwak, an American military strategist, reads the spy story Biot. Italy in the crosshairs, but should worry more about Chinese penetration, Biden is watching

“A great classic. Only the Borsalino hat was missing ”. Edward Luttwak barely holds back the smile. The Russian spy story from Rome arrived straight in Maryland, at his home. The negotiation, the arrest of Walter Biot, the naval officer caught red-handed selling NATO military secrets to a Russian embassy attaché, the expulsion of two Russian officials who returned to Moscow with the first Aeroflot.

He knows everything, but “there is no need to read”, because “it is a typical case of espionage, of those who no longer hear”. Luttwak, one of the best-known American military strategists, with a past in the Pentagon and the White House as an advisor, told generations of military scholars about the Soviet Union, the Kremlin’s tactics, old habits to die.

“It all went according to the manual. There was the naval officer, the embassy attache. And a mistake, which activated the excellent Italian security system ”. In short, “everyone has done their duty”, says Luttwak, “nowadays espionage is much more boring: electronic bots come into action, the victim is an unprotected PC and it is not known which country the penetration comes from”.

While the judiciary investigates, there are numbers to give a first picture of the seriousness of the Russian infiltration. There are 181 documents given by Biot to Dmitry Ostroukhov is Alexei Nemudrov, of which nine are “highly confidential” and 47 classified as “Nato secret”. “I doubt that it is highly sensitive information or that it puts NATO at risk,” says the American strategist. “As soon as you become a Russian spy, a profession that many Italians are approaching, you soon discover that your bosses have only one obsession. They don’t want information or the truth. They want the documents, tons of documents. And Flot worked in an office that is full of them ”.

Whatever information is stolen, the danger is relative, guarantees the political scientist. “Today the Russian Federation is not an active military threat. She is very active in espionage, because it is a profitable activity, and it is cheap. It costs more to modify the wing of a fighter series than to maintain a spy bureaucracy ”.

We ask Luttwak what will happen to the two 007s expelled from the Farnesina at home. Medal of Valor or Exile? “None of the two. Russian espionage has an excellent tradition of personnel management. When someone makes a mistake, they don’t punish him. Those with alcohol problems are entrusted to a psychoanalyst. Not surprisingly, when foreigners recruited as agents are discovered, they prefer to return to Moscow ”.

If the Biot case is really so “ordinary”, why was it chosen to go public with the flaw? A message from the Draghi government a Vladimir Putin? Luttwak has his doubts, “when an Italian Navy officer sells military secrets for 5000 euros, the news must be published at all costs”.

Surprising, yes, the bipartisan silence of the Italian political forces. Perhaps because, after all, they all boast, some more or less, an excellent relationship with the red square. For America’s Joe Biden Can these sympathies turn into a problem? “No, as long as they stay inside the tracks,” Luttwak replies. “The Russian Federation questions all the principles of Western life. Russians are Europeans, a little less when it comes to individual freedom, democracy, human rights. The Italian problem has another name ”. That is? “The China. Chinese penetration in Italy is considerable, unprecedented. There are ministers, undersecretaries on the Forbidden City list. Yes, you should worry about this ”.

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