Ex-Green Beret sentenced to over 15 years for conspiring to provide US intel to Russians

Former Army Green Beret Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for conspiring with Russian agents to provide them with US defense intelligence, the Justice Department announced Friday. By Christina Carrega, CNN

(CNN) -- A former Army Green Beret was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for conspiring with Russian agents to provide them with US defense intelligence, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, of Gainesville, Virginia, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy, which started back in 1996 when he made frequent visits to Russia to meet with their intelligence agents and at some point was given a code name and signed a settlement "attesting that he wanted to serve" them, prosecutors with the Eastern District of Virginia said.

"Debbins flagrantly and repeatedly sold out his country," said Raj Parekh, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "The defendant's brazen disclosures to Russian intelligence agents jeopardized US national security and threatened the safety of his fellow servicemen."

After he was given the Russian alias, Debbins was encouraged to join the Army, where he served between 1998 and 2005 in chemical units before being selected for the US Army Special Forces and earned a top rank as captain, prosecutors said.

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