Dead Drop: March 3

MISSING MAN FORMATION: Last Friday, seven retired four-star officers (six generals and one admiral) posted a letter in Defense One calling on the US and its allies to “dig deeper to get Ukraine what it needs to win and succeed.” That is quite a showing of star power.  The signatories were said to be every living person who had once served as Supreme Allied Commander Europe — except one.  Which got us thinking, which former NATO commander didn’t sign? Turns out it was retired General Bantz J. Craddock, U.S. Army (ret) who was SACEUR from 2006 to 2009. We hear there is no indication that General Craddock disagrees with his fellow members of the SACEUR fraternity — it is just that the drafters of the open letter (which was put together on short notice) couldn’t find him in time.  If you are General Craddock — drop us a line.  We’d love to know if you agree with the gang of seven.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Apparently, the life expectancy of Russian troops in Ukraine is only slightly worse than the prospects for Russian oligarchs and former friends of top Russian officials.  According to The Mirror a 59-year-old former Russian spy, Viatcheslav Rovneiko, was “found unconscious” at his home in a gated village and died of mysterious causes.  He reportedly once worked closely with Sergei Naryshkin, now head of Russia’s SVR and more recently, was close to Gennady Timchenko, one of Putin’s most loyal oligarchs.  The news came just a week after an IT specialist at the Russian foreign ministry was found dead after falling from a “low height.” The name of that official has not been confirmed – but The Mirror cites a report saying it was “Mikhail Ukrainets” – whose last name may have sounded too much like “Ukraine” for those in the Foreign Ministry.

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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