Former Army Green Beret Sentenced for Russian Espionage Conspiracy
ALEXANDRIA, VA (STL.News) A former Army Green Beret was sentenced today to 188 months in prison for conspiring with Russian intelligence operatives to provide them with U.S. national defense information.
“Debbins flagrantly and repeatedly sold out his country, including while he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney 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.”
According to court documents, from December 1996 to January 2011, Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, of Gainesville, a former member of the U.S. Army, conspired with agents of a Russian intelligence service. During that time, Debbins periodically visited Russia and met with Russian intelligence agents. In 1997, Debbins was assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents and signed a statement attesting that he wanted to serve Russia.
“Debbins violated his oath as a U.S. Army officer, betrayed the Special Forces, and endangered our country’s national security by revealing classified information to Russian intelligence officers, providing details of his unit, and identifying Special Forces team members for Russian intelligence to try to recruit as a spy,” said John C Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.