CBP: Former Russian military bomber engineer seeks asylum at U.S. border
The Russian told CBP officials that he had sensitive information regarding his country’s military that would be wanted by the U.S. government
February 13, 2023 8:34pm
Updated: February 14, 2023 8:50am
A former Russian military bomber engineer is seeking asylum in the United States, offering to reveal the Kremlin’s military secrets in exchange, according to an unclassified Customs and Border Protection (CBP) report obtained by Yahoo News.
The Russian engineer and his family arrived at the U.S. Southwest border in December in an armored SUV. At the border he asked for asylum, claiming that he feared he was being persecuted by the Kremlin after participating in anti-Putin protests.
The Russian told CBP officials that he had sensitive information regarding his country’s military that would be wanted by the U.S. government. The CBP and the Department of Homeland Security worked to verify the engineer’s identity for about a week, finally deeming him credible on January 11. He was transferred to the FBI for further questioning, according to government officials.
The unclassified report claimed that “his past employment had included working ... from 2018 to 2021 in the making of a particular type of military airplane at the Tupolev aircraft production facility in the city of Kazan in west-central Russia.”
“He described the aircraft type as ‘an attack jet’ and said it ‘was called White Swan-TU160, the largest military aircraft.’”
The White Swan-TU160, known as “Blackjack” by NATO, is allegedly the most advanced strategic bomber among Russia’s war planes. The Kremlin has allegedly been used to conduct tactical airstrikes during the Ukraine war.
“An individual working at a defense industrial facility such as Tuplov could have access to a range of information on defense industrial production, specifications related to the Tu-160 bomber and its more recently developed modernized variant, various production processes, dependencies and where their limitations lie,” Russian military expert Michael Kofman told Yahoo News.
“Someone in such a position could accumulate knowledge by virtue of the types of information they’re exposed to on the job, some of which could prove valuable,” he added.