House panel examining conflicting intelligence analyses on Ukraine
By Ken Dilanian | Tribune Washington Bureau | Published: March 5, 2014
WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies disagreed on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would order military intervention last week in Ukraine, officials said Tuesday, and the House Intelligence Committee is examining what caused the differing analyses.
“We have begun a review to see what pieces were missing here,” said Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.
Lawmakers who read the intelligence analyses say they were given little guidance on what to believe, and were surprised Friday when the Russians began taking control of border posts, airports and regional government facilities in Crimea.
A classified report earlier in the week by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, responsible for collecting and analyzing military intelligence, concluded that Russian military drills with 150,000 troops near the Ukrainian border would not provide a pretext for sending troops into Crimea.
A separate classified analysis from the CIA said that some signs pointed to a Russian intervention, but that it did not expect one, the officials said.
A closed-door briefing to members of Congress Thursday by Robert Cardillo, deputy director of national intelligence, also did not suggest that military action was imminent, said officials who asked not to be identified discussing a classified briefing.
“I think the Russian steps came as a surprise,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., an Intelligence Committee member. “I think in part it comes from trying to predict a fairly unpredictable Vladimir Putin.”