“The intelligence community’s job in Russia has gotten progressively difficult and is moving toward what could be called a denied area.” https://t.co/UeyjQytcWQ https://t.co/YXkgJbXyhI #JOSSICA HUMINT in Russia – Google Search https://t.co/a1FZtrnQF8 pic.twitter.com/MfvG6cpNFh
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) November 17, 2021
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Amid growing concern about Russia’s irregular military movements near Ukraine’s border in preparation to invade Ukraine, the Biden administration’s efforts to understand Russia’s intentions are being hampered by a key blind spot — the intelligence community’s limited visibility into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. US officials don’t yet know what Russia’s intentions are largely because of a lack of intelligence on discussions between Putin, who will decide whether to attempt to invade Ukraine, and his inner circle. The Defense Department is also trying to understand Russia’s intentions and end goal as unusual military activity inside Russia but near Ukraine’s borders continues to be seen. The intelligence also says it is not yet clear whether Russia intends to launch an invasion into Ukraine but notes that the trend lines are unsettling. The presence of Spetsnaz special forces and GRU and SVR intelligence operatives on the ground has increased concerns about the seriousness of Russia’s actions and expands their capabilities to a full range of hybrid warfare tactics. Russia might employ such hybrid tactics first, trying to co-opt oligarchs and security forces in Ukraine ahead of time to essentially prime them for a large Russian entry.
Without reliable insight into Putin’s motives and decision-making process, the best the US can do is signal as much as it can to try and deter an invasion. The risk of a miscalculation, however, is higher when reliable intelligence is scarce. General Nick Carter, Britain’s most senior military officer, said that the risk of accidental war with Russia is greater now than during the Cold War. Many of the traditional diplomatic tools and mechanisms of the Cold War are no longer there and without those tools and mechanisms there is a greater risk that these escalations or this escalation could lead to miscalculation. Putin, for his part, has suggested that any Russian use of force would be in reaction to a western encroachment in the region and attempts to recruit Ukraine into NATO. (By Natasha Bertrand, Jim Sciutto and Katie Bo Lillis | CNN, 2021)
|US struggles with intelligence blind spot as Russia builds up forces near Ukraine|
After publicly sounding the alarm about Russia’s irregular military movements near Ukraine’s border, the Biden administration’s efforts to understand Russia’s intentions are being hampered by a key blind spot — the intelligence community’s limited visibility into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s….