Most damaging were articles on U.S. information-sharing with Ukraine, which by explaining what was impermissible, told Russia exactly what we were sharing with Kyiv. Providing “kill chain” intelligence (information that directly facilitates attacking enemy forces) to a foreign military can place the United States in or very near combatant status. Publicly discussing it is risky business, especially considering Putin’s repeated threats, and Biden’s evident fear of doing anything possibly deemed “escalatory,” such as supplying Ukraine with Polish MiGs. Some “leaks” about such intelligence sharing indeed looked “defensive,” authorized anonymous conversations intended to protect the United States, but which were accidentally quite revealing.
What was inexplicably underreported and under-analyzed by the pro-Biden media is why the United States was so mistaken in its pre-invasion intelligence assessment that Russia would gain swift victory in Ukraine, with Kyiv falling in days and the entire country in weeks. Fearing sudden Russian successes, the administration leaked that it would support guerrilla operations afterward, presumably to deter Moscow from invading. A U.S. offer to provide Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky safe passage from Kyiv showed little confidence in his government’s survivability. You can be sure that China noted these intelligence failures carefully.
It is not just a coincidence that the intelligence and communications strategy mistakes in Ukraine echoed errors in Afghanistan. Now recognizing these failures, two major blunders hardly six months apart, the U.S. intelligence community is, quite rightly, reviewing its performance. They have much to do.