CIA Director William Burns defends declassifying intelligence on Russia's invasion of Ukraine: report
Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said on Thursday that President Joe Biden's declassification of intelligence regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has proven "effective" in thwarting his imperial conquest.
Those types of decisions are “always very complicated ones,” Burns remarked at the Billington Cybersecurity annual summit in Washington, D.C as reported by NBC News.
“But I think when President Biden has decided very carefully and very selectively to, you know, make public some of our secrets, it’s played a very effective role over the course of the last six months,” he continued, opining that “if we make it the exception, not the rule because the surest way, I’ve certainly found in a year and a half now as director of CIA, to lose access to good intelligence is to be reckless about how you handle it.”
Burns explained that “ensuring that Putin fails in Ukraine" remains the intelligence community's priority, stressing that “we have stripped away the pretext that Putin, in particular, often uses." The Biden Administration's strategy, he added, "has been a real benefit, I think, to Ukrainians."
Burns, who served as the United States' ambassador to Russia under President George W. Bush and the deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, also revealed how American intelligence agencies assessed the Russian autocrat's ambitions.
Putin's “sense of destiny and his appetite for risk" were exploitable, Burns said, "and nowhere was that sense of destiny or that risk appetite greater than on his fixation with controlling Ukraine."
Putin, Burns declared, was “profoundly wrong in his assumptions" about Ukraine.
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