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Thu Nov 19, 2020, 08:00 AM

Ex-Green Beret who conspired to spy for Russia taught at school linked to Michael Flynn

Former Army Green Beret admits conspiring to spy for Russia
By Rachel Weiner
November 18, 2020 at 12:37 p.m. EST

A former Green Beret conspired to spy for the Russian government while serving in the Army and as a defense contractor with a top-secret security clearance.

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, of Gainesville, Va., pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage. He will be sentenced Feb. 26 in federal court in Alexandria and faces up to life in prison.

Born in the United States but with family ties to Russia, Debbins told investigators in a written statement that he had a “messianic vision” of saving Russia from its own leadership and thought the intelligence operatives “would be my allies in overthrowing their government,” according to court papers. He said he also became concerned about the impact on his wife’s family if he did not engage and was bitter about his experience in the U.S. Army.

“Our country entrusted Debbins with the responsibility and training to protect it from its adversaries,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “Debbins betrayed that trust and betrayed his fellow service members.”


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