Russia-Ukraine war, why is intelligence declassifying so much information?

by Start Magazine editorial staff

Russia-Ukraine war, why is intelligence declassifying so much information? Start Magazine

Making so much sensitive information public at a rapid pace is a significant change for intelligence agencies, traditionally reluctant to share top secret knowledge. Expert comments collected by the Financial Times

Last week, in a packed college hall in Canberra, Jeremy Fleming, the head of the British spy agency GCHQ, shared the kind of jaw-dropping classified information that the public rarely hears. So writes the Financial Times. He said Russian soldiers in Ukraine refused to follow orders, sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft as a sign of declining morale. In recent days, US officials have shared information suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin has been misled about the extent of his military's failures. The recent assessments are the latest breakthrough in a new strategy adopted by Western intelligence officials, led by US agencies, to declassify information at a rapid pace - a striking feature of the spy community's response to the invasion of Ukraine. Making that information public and doing it quickly is a significant change for intelligence agencies, which have traditionally been reluctant to share sensitive knowledge. The conventional thinking was that declassification of ratings would reveal sources and methods of information gathering, potentially endangering the lives of people overseas recruited by the CIA to spy on their countries. Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, was instrumental in the US decision to begin declassifying more information in a strategic effort to counter Russia's false narratives, according to three people briefed on the change in strategy. "Credit should be given to Avril Haines for her decision to release intelligence information," a European official said. "It was a real stroke of genius to deal with disinformation." A US official said the strategy was planned and coordinated by the National Security Council and implemented by Haines, CIA Director Bill Burns and others. As a seasoned former diplomat, Burns has spent much of his career using information rather than providing it. This view, coupled with his experience in Russia, according to former officials, makes him ideal for overseeing the change in strategy. "He's a diplomat, but he's also a serious Russian specialist - he knows how they think," said Daniel Fried, a former US diplomat who managed Russian sanctions policy in the Barack Obama administration and now works on the Atlantic Council. . Fried said Haines, Burns and other senior administration officials, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, have a long history of using intelligence and can therefore be judicious in deciding how to use it. "They will not fall prey to amateur temptations," he added. The United States has declassified information at a rapid pace since before the invasion, predicting that Putin would invade Ukraine even if allies were more skeptical. But the decision to release detailed information on Russia’s military campaign failures is an expansion of that effort. It aims to counter Moscow's claims that it is seriously interested in the peace talks and that it has successfully completed the "first phase" of its so-called "special military operation". "We had a body of information that allowed us to reveal it," said a senior administration official. "It underlines the fact that the Russians have carried out this war in a way that has been far less successful than originally anticipated." Western intelligence frames Russia's withdrawal from Kiev as a clear loss rather than a strategic pivot and weakens the country's bargaining position in peace talks with Ukraine which, according to the United States, Moscow has not dealt with seriously. "While we do everything we can to strengthen the Ukrainians' position in the negotiations, it is useful for people to have a better understanding of which information reaches Putin and which does not reach Putin," a US official said. A Western official said the recent push by the U.S. and U.K. to release more information was in part intended to increase the chances that Mosc's elites and Russian citizens received a more accurate picture of the situation in Ukraine. Eugene Rumer, a former senior US intelligence official on Russia, now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the apparent divisions between Putin and his military leaders support America's assessment of the Russian president's miscalculations since the beginning of the war. . "It underlines to the world the futility, the stupidity, the madness of Putin's approach to Ukraine," the official said. "It is hoped that this will also reach the Russian public and feed the Russian internal narrative." The revelations are an axis of a broader strategy that has been in place since the start of the war to declassify information about Russia's plans and movements to garner international support for Ukraine and combat Russian efforts to carry out "false flag operations." ”And spread disinformation. Last fall, US officials said, President Joe Biden gave the green light to the public information campaign and the proactive downgrading and declassification of intelligence on Russia's intentions. The United States has also begun sharing intelligence information with allies and partners more widely than usual, with Haines and Burns traveling to Europe in the pre-war period to share information beyond the countries that are party to the agreement. intelligence sharing of “Five Eyes” signals - United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The information goes through a standard declassification process, with more staff and resources added to intelligence agencies to speed things up. The United States shared information on the extent of Russian strengthening on the Ukrainian border and Washington’s assessment that Putin was preparing to attack. This helped bolster the sanctions that followed and persuade skeptical allies like France and Germany of the seriousness of Putin's invasion. Between early November and mid-February, the Biden administration conducted more than 300 meetings and calls with allies and partners on the Ukrainian crisis, including many who focused on sharing intelligence, a US official said. Attendees included President Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, among others. The United States was encouraged that most of its assessments of Russian operations in Ukraine were correct, in contrast to recent intelligence failures in Afghanistan, where the administration expected the Afghan military to push back the Taliban. for several months rather than quickly giving up. It also helped win over skeptical allies who remember erroneous claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Other countries have erred in their assessments, including France, where the chief of military intelligence allegedly lost his job after not predicting the invasion of Russia. Since the invasion began, the UK has also become more aggressive in releasing information that previously would have remained classified, in part because officials concluded that the West had not been active enough in sharing information when Russia invaded. Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014, or when the Kremlin intervened to support the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria in 2015. "It needs to be done because it makes it harder for Russia to deny what it is doing, which was a problem in 2008, 2014 and in Syria," a Western official said. Washington will continue to massively declassify and disseminate predictive intelligence information, as well as other information it deems useful, US officials said. Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former senior CIA operations officer, said the more open approach is a "new paradigm for intelligence." And a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center, Mowatt-Larssen added, "It shows that intelligence should be actively involved in the conflict to maximize the power of its impact." (Extract from the foreign press review by epr comunicazione)

COMMENT: in a war where fake news and above all the control of information by totalitarian regimes live, sending information is a very positive phenomenon. Think that it took 60 years to understand the role the British played in decoding the Enigma machine of the Germans in World War II. The information can also be of use to democratic peoples where entire sections of the population base their alleged knowledge only on what their groups write in the social network. But wars are not won only with propaganda, we need adequate weapons and in the field of cyber-war we can make our important contribution, as explained on this site.