The Presidential Daily Brief

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    When Organized Crime Becomes Official

    Think of them as hired help. Russia is increasingly subcontracting its dirty work abroad to organized crime syndicates. Whether it’s stirring up insurgencies, hacking elections, or knocking off enemies, it turns out gangsters and other rank-and-file criminals have the skills the Kremlin needs to project its power. It’s a major risk, though. While these unsavory types provide the services traditional intelligence services can’t — or won’t — perform, the downside is that, well, they’re criminals: Unprofessional in the most basic sense, they might turn on their paymasters at any moment.

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