I want to thank one of my readers, Paul S., for flagging this remarkable and hilarious Newsweek article, written by Bill Arkin, that is a classic example of the CIA throwing Ukraine under the bus and eschewing blame for the military disaster looming on the horizon. I will start by quoting the conclusion of the piece:
In response, the senior U.S. defense intelligence official stressed the delicate balance the Agency must maintain in its many roles, saying: “I hesitate to say that the CIA has failed.” But the official said sabotage attacks and cross border fighting created a whole new complication and continuing Ukrainian sabotage “could have disastrous consequences.”
Ok. I will say it. The CIA has failed and it is blaming Ukraine. Arkin’s piece would not be possible without a flood of leaks about the broad range of CIA activities in and around Ukraine. The CIA officers ponying up the secrets are keen to get the word out that they are doing a really fantastic, swell, marvelous job. The problem is the damn Ukrainians and these CIA officers, while claiming to have robust means to collect intelligence, admit that Zelensky and his crowd are giving the United States the mushroom treatment — keeping them in the dark and covered with shit.
The article starts with the tired, false meme that Russia is in trouble:
“Putin’s back is really against the wall” a senior defense intelligence official tells Newsweek, warning that while the CIA fully grasps how much Russia is stuck in Ukraine, it is very much in the dark with regard to what Putin might do about it. With talk of Russian nuclear weapons possibly being deployed to Belarus, and in light of Prigozhin’s public exposure of the terrible costs of fighting, something that Moscow has suppressed, the official says that it is a particularly delicate moment. “What is happening off the battlefield is now most important,” says the official, who was granted anonymity in order to speak candidly. “Both sides pledge to limit their actions, but it falls to the United States to enforce those pledges. This all hinges on the quality of our intelligence.
Oh? The United States’ role in Ukraine is to function as a soccer referee? Really? How exactly is the CIA acting as the enforcer of pledges? By providing “quality” intelligence. Except, what you learn as you wade through Arkin’s piece, the CIA keeps being surprised by Ukrainian attacks in Russia. You can’t have it both ways Bill. Mr. Arkin wants you to believe that the CIA in Ukraine and the surrounding countries is the Leonard Bernstein of spies — masterfully conducting an orchestra of competing countries. I ask again, REALLY?
All of the credible experts and officials Newsweek spoke to agreed that the CIA has been successful in discreetly playing its part in dealing with Kyiv and Moscow, in moving mountains of information and materiel and in dealing with a diverse set of other countries, some of whom are quietly helping while also trying to stay out of Russia’s crosshairs. And they didn’t dispute that on the CIA’s main task—knowing what’s going on in the minds of the leaders of Russia and Ukraine—the Agency has had to struggle.
There we have it. The central mission of the CIA — i.e., to get the inside skinny on what Putin and Zelensky are thinking and planning — is a “struggle.” But hey, morale at the CIA, now under the leadership of Dementia Joe and Billy Burns, is FABULOUS!
For the CIA, its major role in the war in Ukraine has provided a boost in morale after the sour relationship between former President Donald Trump and his spy chiefs. The second official says that while some in the Agency want to speak more openly about its renewed significance, that is not likely to happen.
You want evidence of dysfunction and inadequacy? Some CIA officials are begging to talk openly about their importance with respect to Ukraine. If you are carrying out a covert operation that is a smashing success you do not have to brag about it. As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” In the case of Ukraine the pudding is inedible.
The next couple of paragraphs strongly suggests that William Burns (or one of his horse handlers) is a key source in this story by Arkin. Did you know that Burns is a “global trouble shooter?” When it comes to shooting, Burns is a poor marksman.
At the beginning of his administration, Biden tapped director William Burns as his global trouble shooter—a clandestine operator able to communicate with foreign leaders outside normal channels, someone who could occupy important geopolitical space between overt and covert, and an official who could organize work in the arena that exists between what is strictly military and what is strictly civilian.
As former Ambassador to Russia, Burns has been particularly influential with regard to Ukraine. The CIA had been monitoring Russia’s buildup and in November 2021, three months before the invasion, Biden dispatched Burns to Moscow to warn the Kremlin of the consequences of any attack.
Yep, let’s ignore context. According to the Arkin fable, Russia was building up for an invasion of Ukraine for no good reason. In fact, Arkin makes no attempt to explain how U.S. and NATO actions, such as the deployment of two Aegis missile batteries in Poland and Romania, was viewed as a very serious threat by Moscow because those weapons can carry nuclear warheads. So the influential Mr. Burns warned Putin about what the U.S. would do if Russia invaded Ukraine and Russia ignored him. I don’t think Arkin understands the meaning of the word, “influential.”
Arkin then proceeds to let a variety of cats — domestic and feral — out of the bag. Poland is the center for U.S. military and intelligence operations to fight the proxy war with Russia:
Poland officially became the center of NATO’s response, first in handling hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the battle, and then as the logistical hub for arms flowing back into Ukraine. The country also became the center of the overt military response. A forward headquarters for the Army V Corps (5th Corps) has been established in Poland. Additional supplies and ammunition for U.S. use are stored in Poland. A permanent Army garrison has been activated, the first ever to be located on NATO’s eastern flank, and today there are now about 10,000 American troops in Poland.
Can you imagine the reaction in the United States if Russia established a forward military headquarters in Mexico with 10,000 troops? Yet Biden and his team of dullards do this in Poland without any regard for Russia’s reaction to a military build-up on its Western border.
The last part of the article reflects the desperation of the spooks talking to Arkin. The Ukrainians are responsible for all of the nefarious terrorist attacks inside Russia. The CIA folks are getting their story out that they don’t know nothing about no terrorist attacks on Russia. It is all the fault of Zelensky and his crazy generals. The following paragraph illustrates the central contradiction of Arkin’s attempt to exonerate the CIA — we were told early on in his piece that the CIA was doing a terrific job of gathering intelligence except it totally failed to gathering any advance warning about Ukraine’s terrorist attacks on the Kerch Bridge and Engels Airbase. Which is it Bill?
The Kerch bridge attack was followed by an even longer-range strike on the Engels Russian bomber base, almost 700 miles from Kyiv. The CIA did not know about any of these attacks beforehand, according to a senior U.S. official, but rumors started to circulate that the Agency was, through some mysterious third party, directing others to strike Russia. The Agency delivered a strong and unusual on-the-record denial.
I’m guessing that the CIA guys and gals talking to Arkin are a different crowd from those talking to Sy Hersh. Let me make this simple — if Ukraine, thanks to CIA help, was kicking the stuffing out of the Russians and the CIA was confident of an impending Ukrainian victory, then this piece would never have been written. This smacks of major “ass covering” and blame shifting. CIA people only do these types of leaks when they learn that reservations are being made for seats on the helicopters that will be landing on the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev when evacuation day comes. We did it before in Saigon and Kabul. By God, we can do it again.
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