Lawmakers claim that the United States is withholding information in Ukraine in the war with Russia

WASHINGTON – Some Democratic and Republican lawmakers say the United States is delaying the provision of some intelligence to Ukraine in its struggle with Russia as the US also seeks to limit any direct confrontation with Moscow.

The White House insists on constantly exchanging intelligence with Ukraine. But a secret directive was issued as the invasion began Last week, it set effective limits on how quickly some tactical intelligence can be transferred – ones that determine instant combat decisions – according to two people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. National Intelligence Director’s Office directive also restricted the exchange of details about specific locations of potential targets, according to people who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss intelligence issues. More information about the directive was not immediately available.

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“We are adapting to the circumstances and will continue to provide the flexibility for operators to share intelligence as the conflict progresses,” said an anonymous spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret directive.

The publication of the directive reflects the fine line on which the United States is following assistance to Ukraine avoiding direct conflict with nuclear russia. He sends anti-aircraft weapons and other weapons to Ukraine and conducts global efforts to impose harsh sanctions aimed at mutilation Russian economy. But it is also impossible to send American troops to Ukraine or a declaration no-fly zone this could lead to the entry of U.S. troops with Russian warplanes.

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The exchange of intelligence can be particularly fragile because of the risk of disclosure of US sources and methods, as well as because of the uncertainty of whether Russia could infiltrate the Ukrainian government.

U.S. MP Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, told MSNBC on Thursday that the U.S. does not provide “the type of real-time targeting that you see our military get into conflicts like in Iraq. .. because it crosses the border to force us to take part in the war ”. Earlier, NBC reported delays in the exchange of intelligence with Ukraine.

A White House official denied the allegations, saying the administration did not believe providing tactical intelligence to Ukrainians would be part of the war, just as it is now by providing weapons – unlike the actual deployment of US forces in combat. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the White House’s views and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Some lawmakers in recent days have called on the Biden administration to provide more information. “It’s a matter of life and death for Ukrainians, and information about the whereabouts of a Russian tank that broke in 12 hours ago prevents the bloodshed of civilians,” said U.S. Senator Ben Sass, a Republican from Nebraska who is a member of the intelligence committee. The Senate.

There have been cases where tactical intelligence has been delayed for 12 hours or more, although most delays appear to be shorter, said three people familiar with the matter.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday: “We shared this in real time.”

“We are constantly exchanging intelligence,” Psaki said. – This includes information that Ukrainians can use to inform and develop their military response to the Russian invasion. This is ongoing, and reports to the contrary are inaccurate. “

Ukraine has its own intelligence service and has published some of its own findings about Russia’s plans to attack high-profile targets in the country or organize so-called Operation “bogus flag”. – for example, fabricated attacks by Ukrainian forces – which Moscow could use to justify its invasion.

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The United States has a more limited intelligence-sharing relationship with Ukraine than with other Western countries, including the other four members of the so-called Five Eyes Alliance – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Representatives of the administration insist that US agencies have worked to provide Ukraine with as much information as possible about the Russian threat.

One limiting factor that the United States can provide is Russia’s entry into the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainian military and special services have long struggled to eradicate Russian spies or sympathizers. And while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sought closer ties with the West, other recent Ukrainian governments have been closer to Moscow and have key allies in government.

Zelensky spoke regularly with Biden and thanked the U.S. president and other Western leaders on Twitter for their support. But in the last few months between Washington and Kiev there have sometimes been tensions over intelligence, including Zelensky publicly breaking with White House predictions of Russia’s invasion. Republicans in Washington also said the U.S. could provide more and better information about Russia’s threat to Ukraine earlier than it did, a statement the White House rejects.

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This week, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov published an open letter to commercial satellite companies asking for a high resolution satellite imagery. “We really need the opportunity to observe the movement of Russian troops, especially at night, when our technology is virtually blind!” read the letter.

Several commercial satellite companies have contracts with the US government, which provides images to Ukrainians, according to people familiar with the matter.

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