Western intelligence has been aware of Putin’s plans for Ukraine since the summer of 2021. How they tried to get rid of him

Russia’s intention to invade Ukraine has been known to Western intelligence since the summer of 2021, a BBC official quoted as saying: “In the summer, I saw a small group of senior Russian officials planning a large-scale invasion. wide.

Usually, the secret services do not reveal their details, but as the invasion approached, Western intelligence officers made an unprecedented decision: to tell the world what they knew. “

According to BBC Ukraine, “a few months earlier, the services sounded the alarm and tried to stop the war, the extent of which had been repeatedly confirmed,” the source said.

“Data collection and analysis has been a common task of the United States and the United Kingdom. The exact source of the information remains secret, but officials say they obtained it from various sources, “the BBC said.

For weeks, in February, a small group of intelligence officers made the night white.

They had seen the news predicting a war, and they knew that if Russia really invaded Ukraine, it would start in the early hours of the morning.

But when the news finally came on February 24, it still seemed unreal. “It was hard for me to believe it was until I woke up early that morning and turned on the radio.”

They sounded the alarm for months

“On that day, the people he was dating went from ‘Why are you so hysterical?’ “Why weren’t you more hysterical?” says the official.

There was no satisfaction in proving that you were right, adds another intelligence officer. But at least they didn’t go down without explaining themselves first.

In the run-up to the war and in the weeks leading up to the war, US and British intelligence services released some of their best-kept secrets as part of an unprecedented campaign.

For decades, secrets have generally been shared by as few people as possible. But the decision was made to let the whole world know about it.

This not only marked a dramatic change in the way the Western secret services operated, but also a confrontation with the painful legacy of the invasion of Iraq.

First information

The first signs of Russia’s intentions came a year ago. Information from satellite imagery indicated an accumulation of Russian troops near Ukraine. But analysts understood little about Moscow’s true intentions.

Everything changed in the middle of 2021. “In the summer, we saw a small group of high-ranking Russian men planning a complete military invasion of the entire country,” said a Western intelligence official.

Gathering information and analyzing it was a joint US-UK deal, say those involved – one calling it a “family” operation. There was not a single moment of understanding, but rather an image that became clearer and clearer over time.

The exact source of the information remains secret – officials suggest it comes from several sources. But it provided an image that continued to grow as London and Washington saw their invasion plans completed.

Putin felt the window of opportunity close

Vladimir Putin seemed to believe that he had to act quickly in order to fulfill his ambition to bring Ukraine back into Russia’s sphere of influence. And he believed that the only way to do that was to use force. “It felt like a window of opportunity was closing,” said one person who was directly involved in the operation.

By the fall, Washington had decided it needed to do something about what it received from its spies. This decision, say those involved, was made at the highest level of the White House by President Joe Biden.

A crucial moment came in early November, when CIA Director William Burns traveled to Moscow – to warn Russia that Washington knew what was planned. The trip was not kept secret. When the CIA director told Russian officials that their country might seriously intend to take action against Ukraine, it seemed to be the first time they had heard of it, an official said.

“The next step was to make some of the information public. What’s the point of knowing all this if we can’t do anything about it? ”Said an American official.

In Washington, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines – who briefed NATO allies in November – and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan are credited with making efforts to release the materials.

Hiding sources and methods

Classification experts, trained to understand the risks, began working non-stop to determine what could be shared.

“The intelligence community has increased staffing and resources to support classification revisions for increased exchange of information with allies and partners and declassification assessments that were designed to protect sources and methods,” Nicole de Haay, a spokeswoman for the BBC, told the BBC. word of the US intelligence community.

Use of images from commercial satellites

One advantage was the ability to use commercially available satellite imagery to support the case. By early December, details of Russia’s plans for an invasion of 175,000 people had appeared in the Washington Post.

In London, the information – from GCHQ and MI6 – was greeted with distrust in some parts. A common problem inside and outside the government was that people simply could not believe that a major ground war could break out in Europe in the 21st century.

It was only at the end of the year – after the material went through a formal evaluation process and the Joint Intelligence Committee expressed its view that an invasion was now “very likely” – that everyone began to realize that this was real.

Ghosts of misinformation in Iraq

The rigor of that process was the direct result of lessons learned almost two decades ago, when information was used to publicly argue for the Iraq war in a random, improvised way. In 2003, amid allegations of politicization, the reputation of US and British spies was tarnished – especially after the information turned out to be wrong.

Iraqi ghosts have since haunted discussions about the use of information in public – but Ukraine has offered the opportunity to try to put that legacy aside. New procedures have been put in place to ensure that secret information has undergone a strict evaluation process before it can be used.

Other allies have been informed

Other allies were also informed. But many remained skeptical. Because the source of the information could not be shared, it was sometimes difficult to overcome this mistrust, says an official.

Some European partners did not accept the analysis that Russia was preparing an invasion, they considered it a bluff, France recently dismissed its head of military intelligence because it did not properly analyze the data available to the secret services.

The fear of spies was that the enemy would find out that he had a breach and possibly shut down that source. That was why, in World War II, Britain kept the secret of Bletchley Park (breaking the Nazi Enigma coding machine) so closely.

The UK communication included sharing details of Russia’s plans to install a puppet government in Kyiv – and Washington unveiled Moscow’s plans to stage a pretext for war, false flag attacks on Ukrainians.

American and British spies believe that making this information public has frustrated Moscow’s ability to justify its own people and other countries’ invasion as a defensive move.

A spy says of those days before the invasion that he had never seen anything like it – classified material that was on his desk one day, appeared in the public space the next.

But the unprecedented outpouring of information was not enough to stop the invasion.

The release of the information in public did not deter Moscow, but officials believe it has disrupted Russia’s plans. And that means the West’s reaction has been faster and more unified than it would have been otherwise, they say.

They say it has made it much easier for other countries to take tougher action than if there was a confused and disputed picture of the real aggressor.

The release continued after the invasion through speeches, statements and briefings – the head of the GCHQ said a week ago that Putin still does not have a complete picture of the situation in Ukraine from his own officials and there have been warnings about the possible use of weapons chemicals under the “false flag”.

There is also a recognition of a new world in which so-called open source information – such as images and data from commercial satellites – has made it more possible to verify or support claims. It was also highlighted that the fight against the information war – including through information – is now vital, in part to counter Russian claims.

The information has been largely confirmed

The information was largely accurate. There was, as expected, a complete multi-pronged invasion in order to overthrow and replace the Zelensky government.

Western spies also correctly predicted that Moscow would not receive the reception they expected. “They really thought the Ukrainians would come out to welcome them,” said a Western intelligence officer.

But one assumption turned out to be wrong – that the Moscow army will prevail in a few weeks. In contrast, the war did not go as expected, with Ukraine outperforming militarily, while Russia performed poorly.

This is a reminder that espionage has its limits – especially in predicting some of the complexities of war, the uncertainties of morale and the reaction of people. And with all the pre-war successes, Western spies admit that intelligence cannot say for sure what will happen next.

Source: Breaking News – Cele mai importante stiri – Ziare.com by ziare.com.

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