David Ballantyne Smith was arrested in August of 2021 for spying for the government of the Russian Federation. Smith was recently convicted of spying for Russia attempting to form relationships with several high-level government officials in order to gain access to and funnel sensitive information to the Russian government.
David Smith is a veteran of the Royal Air Force (RAF). After serving he got a contract security job at the British Embassy in Berlin. Ever since 2018 he as been collecting classified documents of various kinds and passing information on to Russia. David Smith acted this way because of an ideological support for Putin and the Russian cause.
Smith was caught by an operation by Britain’s MI5. An agent disguised as a Russian defector came into contact with Smith. He ended up with copies of documents that would be valuable to the Russian government in his home. There were other instances of MI5 agents testing and confirming that Smith was, in fact, working as an agent and spying for Russia.
David became depressed when his wife decided to move back to her native Ukraine while he was working in Berlin, Germany. He began drinking and absorbed more and more anti-German propaganda. When arrested he had in his possession a picture of Angela Merkel, the former chancellor of Germany, in Nazi uniform. Vladimir Putin had his hands around her neck in the photo. He understood that the actions he was taking to support Russia would be damaging to his native Britain but he still followed through.
The full extent of his actions against his country have not been officially released, if they have even been determined. The most disturbing part about Smith’s story is how he had no outward cause for becoming a pro-Russian spy. There was no blackmail or coercion, he had an ideological shift and choose of his own accord to support Putin and the Russian government over his own.