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Western Military Analysts, Including the CIA, Dazed and Confused

By Larry Johnson

June 22, 2022: Information Clearing House --  Are we witnessing the consequences of legalized marijuana causing contact highs among the intelligence community that surrounds Washington, DC? How else to explain the parade of political and military analysts now seized with angst over the growing gulf between what they claimed would happen to Russia in Ukraine and the stark reality. Hell, even the CIA is trying to figure out what went wrong with its analysis and is still getting it wrong. Remarkable.

The problem with the CIA is simple–when you prioritize hiring people because of their embrace of pronouns and degenerate sexuality over recruiting accomplished, genuinely educated people equipped with critical thinking skills, do not be surprised that the juvenile mediocrities perform poorly. How is a gender fluid “them” with no military experience and no foreign language skills going to predict the military outcome of a conflict where the attacking force is outnumbered 3 to 1?

Failure is supposed to be a great teacher. But that instruction only succeeds if the pupil is open to learning hard lessons. The CIA has become a purple haired clown show. Just take a gander at the of this article from the Business Insider–US intel officials admit they didn’t see that Russia’s military was a ‘hollow force.’ Here’s what they did see and how they missed it.

Russia is now a “hollow force?” The only hollow thing in this example are the empty noggins of the morons masquerading as intelligence analysts. Check out their excuses for getting it wrong:

  • The Russian force the US military and intelligence agencies believed to be a near-peer adversary hasn’t shown up. The force that did appear had its main thrust blunted by smaller Ukrainian units.
  • “What we did not see from the inside was sort of this hollow force” that lacked an effective non-commissioned officer corps, leadership training, and effective doctrines, Berrier said of the Russians.
  • While US intelligence agencies misinterpreted the effectiveness of the Russian and Ukrainian militaries, they provided accurate information about Russia’s intentions in the months prior to Russia’s attack, which began on February 24.
  • “When you deal with a foreign actor, analysts can fall prey to a number of mental traps, from confirmation bias, availability bias, or even favoring existing analytic lines over new information,” Michael E. van Landingham, a former Russia analyst at the CIA, told Insider.

But this is all nonsense. There is this thing called the internet. It actually allows an inquiring mind to go back in time and see what the CIA was saying in February and March. This is not my opinion. You may read the facts for yourself:

How US intelligence got it right on Ukraine–The CIA director, Bill Burns, a career diplomat, and his boss, the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, a former deputy CIA director, came to office a year ago. . . Burns and Haines refocused on Russia and China, concentrating on collecting and analyzing intelligence on the authoritarian regimes of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. For the first time in a long time, American intelligence agencies were thinking strategically, looking out over the horizon, as opposed to reporting what happened five minutes ago. The result was a clear and prescient picture of Putin’s intentions toward Ukraine.

The Intelligence Community Hits a Grand Slam. Now, It Must Help Ukraine Win–The Biden administration is also entitled to some applause. It “flooded the zone” with authorized disclosures of intelligence prior to the Russian invasion. . . . The more recent disclosures were also designed as a deterrent, to get inside Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision-making process and perhaps cause him to think twice before hitting the “go” button. . . . The intelligence community along with U.S. military special operations forces must prepare to conduct and/or support a Ukrainian insurgency campaign. The model should be Afghanistan in 1980, just after the Soviet invasion. . . . At the same time, the intelligence community must — and will — look for and encourage diplomats and intelligence officers serving at Russian embassies abroad who are making the decision whether or not to jump from Putin’s ship. . . . The intelligence community will also watch to see signs that tens of thousands, or perhaps more, brave Russians are getting ready to take to their streets. . . . Finally, there’s the intelligence community’s support of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. . . . Zelensky vs. Putin. Leonidas vs. Xerxes. Will history repeat itself? Perhaps. But let’s hope that the new Leonidas lives this time to tell the tale. And that his people triumph in sovereign democracy alongside him. America has a stake in this fight. It’s time to make some history. It’s time to help Ukraine win.

Top American generals on three key lessons learned from Ukraine–“The computer models would have said Russia wins in 72 to 96 hours,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger. They “cannot explain why Ukraine is still hanging on. Why is that?” . . . . It took months for Russian President Vladimir Putin to amass more than 175,000 Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. But since those forces mobilized on Feb. 23, the Russian military has been embarrassed by one logistical failure after another. Videos posted on social media showed lines of tanks and military vehicles stalled on Ukrainian roads, with no spare parts available to fix broken vehicles and no fuel to get them running again. Other viral videos showed hungry Russian soldiers who had apparently run out of rations accepting food from Ukrainians.

The ignorance of the U.S. military commanders and the oxymoronically named intelligence community is breathtaking. If you are trying to predict the outcome of a military operation there are, as Andrei Martyanov describes in his must read book (The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs) key variables that must be weighed. One of these is the nature of the defensive fortifications of the Ukrainian army. For the love of God, the entire damn U.S. intelligence community had eight years to track and identify the formidable system of trenches, revetments and bunkers the Ukrainians had constructed. Then there is the fact that Ukraine’s army outnumbered Russia by three-to-one. In what drug addled universe does an analyst conclude and promulgate that a out-manned Russian army will conquer a country twice the size of the United Kingdom in four days?

Perhaps this was a deliberate straw-man strategy–i.e., play up the Russians as ten feet tall (knowing all along that they have the ability to eventually grind the Ukrainians into talcum powder) and then portray them as a weak, doddering power. Maybe the terrible analytical predictions were part of a broader propaganda campaign.

What I do not understand is why the technical collection systems at NSA and NIMA (i.e., National Imagery and Mapping Agency) apparently failed to identify the robust Ukrainian defenses? What should alarm U.S. legislators is that the CIA still does not have a damn clue about what is going on. Specifically, describing Russia as a “hollowed” out force is baseless nonsense. The complex military operations the Russians are conducting across a 900 mile front that stretches from Kharkiv in the north, thru the Donbas and then southwest to Odessa. Besides supplying ground forces with ammunition, fuel, food and medical care, Russian logicians also are feeding hundreds of thousands of civilians left homeless because of the fighting. Then there is the coordination of artillery and sea-based cruise missiles along with close air support from fixed wing and rotary wing air craft.

The CIA is learning the hardway the truth of Sun Tzu’s aphorism:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

That is where the United States intelligence community is; it is ignorant of itself and the Russians.

One of the old intel codgers, Graham E. Fuller, who was Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council at CIA back when I was an analyst, has it figured out. He wrote a piece sure to get him removed from woke Washington, DC parties:

The war in Ukraine has dragged on long enough now to reveal certain clear trajectories. First, two fundamental realities:

  • Putin is to be condemned for launching this war– as is virtually any leader who launches any war.  Putin can be termed a war criminal–in good company with George W. Bush who has killed vastly greater numbers than Putin.
  • Secondary condemnation belongs to the US (NATO) in deliberately provoking a war with Russia by implacably pushing its hostile military organization, despite Moscow’s repeated notifications about crossing red lines, right up to the gates of Russia.  This war did not have to be if Ukranian neutrality, á la Finland and Austria, had been accepted. Instead Washington has called for clear Russian defeat.

Contrary to Washington’s triumphalist pronouncements, Russia is winning the war, Ukraine has lost the war.  Any longer-term damage to Russia is open to debate.

Sadly for Washington, nearly every single one of its expectations about this war are turning out to be incorrect. Indeed the West may come to look back at this moment as the final argument against following Washington’s quest for global dominance into ever newer and more dangerous and damaging confrontations with Eurasia. And most of the rest of the world–Latin America, India, the Middle East and Africa– find few national interests in this fundamentally American war against Russia

Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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