A former U.S. Army Green Beret gave intelligence information to Russians and now will head to prison for it.
Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, admitted to conspiring with the Russian intelligence service. A federal judge sentenced him to 188 months — slightly more than 15 years — behind bars, according to prosecutors.
Between 1998 and 2005, Debbins served as an active duty officer in the U.S. Army, according to prosecutors. He served in the chemical unit before being selected for Special Forces.
Russian agents convinced him to join and pursue a career in the Special Forces. The spy reached the rank of Captain, according to prosecutors.
Debbins provided the Russians with information he obtained from the Army, including the chemical and Special Forces units. In 2008, Debbins left active duty services and gave classified information about his previous activities to the Russians.
The ex-captain also gave names and information and Special Forces members so Russians could decide whether to try and recruit those members to join the Russian intelligence service.
Prosecutors also said Debbins periodically visited Russia and met with agents.
“Debbins flagrantly and repeatedly sold out his country, including while he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The defendant’s brazen disclosures to Russian intelligence agents jeopardized U.S. national security and threatened the safety of his fellow servicemembers. This prosecution underscores our firm resolve to hold accountable those who betray their sworn oath and bring them to justice for their exceptionally serious crimes.”
“The betrayal of fellow U.S. citizens and servicemembers is inexcusable, and today Debbins was sentenced for his reprehensible and dangerous actions,” said Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono for the FBI Washington Field Office. “He was entrusted to serve his country and protect his fellow Special Forces team, but instead he chose to provide classified national defense information to his own country’s adversary. This investigation which led to today’s sentencing is a reminder that the FBI and our partners will continue to diligently and doggedly counter national security threats to the U.S.”