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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CIA: Mafia Threatens Reform

WASHINGTON -- An expanding Russian mafia that is forging ties to organized crime in other countries could threaten President Boris Yeltsin's reform program, Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey said Wednesday.

In Senate testimony on the security threats posed by international crime networks, Woolsey said Russian organized crime groups had linked up with Italian and Colombian narcotics groups.

"For Russia itself, there is a real threat that the surge in crime will sour the Russian people on Yeltsin's reform program and drive them into the arms of Russia's hardline political forces," the CIA chief said. The growth of Russian organized crime could also seriously affect U.S. worldwide efforts to combat international crime, he said.

Woolsey said organized crime was still in the "organizing" stage but if it advanced, "Russians and the international community will be dealing with a powerful and resourceful adversary."