Former U.S. officials and diplomats have sharply criticized the Biden administration for a New York Times report based on conversations with senior officials that said U.S. intelligence is helping Ukraine kill Russian generals.
“Shut up about it,” former CIA officer John Cypher, who served in Russia, tweeted.
Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Russia, in a tweet in response to Cypher, said: “That’s right. No one should talk to the press about such things.”
In the same tone, former U.S. diplomat Aaron David Miller tweeted that the “complete change of tone” following Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to Ukraine was “worrisome.”
In response to Austin’s comments, a National Security Council spokesman said in a statement to CNN: “We want Ukraine to win,” adding, “One of our goals was to limit Russia’s ability to do something like Crimea again. … That is why we are arming the Ukrainians.”
Richard Haass, a seasoned diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in a tweet responding to reports of the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, said he couldn’t “understand why US officials are discussing that the US is helping Ukraine sink Russian ships or kill her.” generals.”
Haas warned that “this reinforces Putin’s narrative that Russia is the victim” while diverting “attention from the reality of Russian aggression and its incompetence towards Ukraine.”
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson on Wednesday said the NYT report was “irresponsibly” formatted.
The Biden administration has said US intelligence-sharing reports are the result of leaks. “Leaks like this and stories like this are useless in efforts to help Ukraine defend itself,” Pentagon spokesman Kirby told CNN.
Biden on Friday discussed with CIA chief William Burns, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin media reports of US intelligence sharing with Ukraine, calling the reports “counterproductive.”
Biden said in a telephone conversation with Burns, Haynes and Austin that such disclosures “detract from our goal,” one source said. Another official said the US president demanded that the leaks stop. The named departments refused to comment on the information about Biden’s conversation with the heads of the special services and the Pentagon.