He is sitting in front of the computer, holding a smartphone in his hand. Frame the screen and take dozens of photos. When he’s done, he takes the card out of his phone and hides it in a box. Then he gets up and walks away. Here is the video showing Navy captain Walter Biot spying on classified documents on behalf of the Russians. It is March 25, 2021, a camera placed by the carabinieri of the Ros in his office at the Defense Staff he records the sequence. And fits it. Because that same ticket will be found on Tuesday 30 March on Dmitry Ostroukhov, the Moscow diplomat who had hooked him up and paid 5,000 euros to have his secret papers delivered. In all, “181 photos of material largely classified as” highly confidential “of which 47 files” Born secret “classified as” secret “”.
The party in the embassy
The precautionary custody order signed by the judge in Rome tells only the last shred of a story of betrayals that actually began at least five months ago. Biot is approached during an embassy reception, it takes little to understand that he needs the money. They recruit him, he makes himself available. The counter-espionage specialists of Aisi, the Internal Security Agency led by General Mario Parente, warn that there is a suspicious interest in Ostroukhov’s behavior. And they begin to monitor it. They discover that he always meets Biot in the same way: he takes the subway to EUR, gets off and gets on a bus, arrives in Spinaceto (suburbs south of Rome) where the Italian “contact” awaits him. He takes a few turns on foot to check that he is not being followed then gets into Biot’s car and together they stop in a supermarket parking lot. He doesn’t know that bugs and cameras have been placed in the captain’s car. He does not imagine that every movement and word is recorded.
The Nissan Patrol
The last appointment is set for last Tuesday. What happens before is reported by the documents of the investigation conducted by the prosecutor Michele Prestipino. The 007 of Aisi cannot carry out operations when they examine the videos shot in his office e they understand that Biot will deliver documents in exchange for money decide to activate the judiciary and the carabinieri of the Ros. The meeting with Colonel Pasquale Angelosanto plans the intervention in the parking lot. Biot arrives at the appointment with a different car than usual, his wife’s Nissan Patrol. The carabinieri attend the meeting, immediately after the exchange they stop the Russian and the Italian. Ostroukhov has the card with the pictures. In Biot’s briefcase there are 5,000 euros divided into 100 banknotes of 50.
The Russian officer had given Biot a “dedicated” cell phone that he could only use for direct contact. In the order it is specified that the captain “for about 10 years it had been dealing with the management of information flows covered by secrecy and preordained for the security of the State, relating to the projection of all the Italian defense structures in foreign operational theaters with particular regard to NATO, EU, UN operations ». War operations, deployment of contingents, lists of officers and non-commissioned officers. Biot had four smartphones available, so much so that the judge highlights the possibility that “reiterate the crime by the number of computers and smartphones in your possession, demonstrating that it is not an isolated and sporadic activity“. And again: “The executive methods and the nature of the affair show in a palpable manner the extreme danger of the subject given the professionalism demonstrated in carrying out the aforementioned actions inferable from the numerous devices used, the timing and the measures adopted”.
The Walter Biot case: insights
The spy network
The examination of the telephones already carried out by the 007s shows that nothing was noted and this, the prosecution says, shows that “the appointments were pre-arranged, tacitly and therefore not agreed by telephone”. These elements, says the judge, “are symptomatic of the criminal depth of the suspect who among other things did not place any scruple in betraying the trust of the institution to which he belongs for the sole purpose of achieving economic profits”. The investigation into Biot’s business will be used to find out if he has taken any more money and how many documents he has passed. He will have to reveal the real interest of the Russians to understand if the dossiers already delivered were only the demonstration of his ability to infiltrate the defense systems in order to steal different and even more burning secrets. But it will also have the aim of verifying whether Biot is really a “maverick” or if instead – as is suspected – a component of a wider network set up by Russian diplomats in which Biot’s colleagues who have already sold out are inserted.
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