Dead Drop: April 1

LET THE BLAMES BEGIN: There was a brief honeymoon period when the U.S. intelligence community got some props for both correctly predicting what the Russians were about to do vis-à-vis Ukraine – and for sharing a lot of that information with the public. But honeymoons don’t last long – and now we seem to have moved into a period of bickering.  And critics are asking, “How did U.S. intelligence overestimate Russian military capabilities?”  This week, U.S. European Command Chief General Tod Wolters was grilled by Senators about whether there was an “intelligence gap” that caused the U.S. to overestimate Russia’s strength and under value that of Ukraine. His answer, “There could be” and he promised the U.S. would look at that when the smoke clears. Other pundits aren’t waiting. For example, Professor Edward Luttwak wrote a piece that apparently was initially titled, “How the CIA Failed Ukraine.” While the title seems to have been changed, the article still slams the Agency for lack of elementary situational awareness which he blames on a “cultural collapse” and asserts (without showing evidence) that, “very few CIA officers speak any foreign language.” We’re not one to get in the middle of an argument, but might we also humbly suggest that if anyone missed the “fighting spirit” of the Ukrainians or the ineptitude of the Russian army – it was Vladimir Putin – who has plenty of people who do speak the local languages and have great access to facts on the ground.  Just sayin.

HERE ARE 600 FOLKS WHO MAY HAVE SOME ANSWERING TO DO: The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Agency has outed more than 600 people it says are members of the Russian Federal Security Service. The FSB is not only in charge of internal security and counterintelligence in Russia – but it also operates in what the Russian’s call the “near abroad” – like the former Soviet Socialist Republics. (And when you think about it, it is kind of telling that they think of Ukraine as pretty much theirs.) says the list released by the Ukrainians includes not only names – but also addresses, passport numbers and in many cases, birth dates, SIM card numbers, vehicle registrations etc.  Fox News says one of the people included in the list has a Skype address that includes the phrase: “jamesbond007.” Some of the identities have leaked before – but by assembling the list, the Ukrainians are demonstrating (once again) that they are ready to play hardball.

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