US pressured to give Ukraine intelligence on Russia
Although Biden has repeatedly attacked the Russian President and voiced his support for Ukraine, the US is still unsure of how much intelligence to share with Kiev.
The US President has called the Russian president a "war criminal" and referred to the military operation in Ukraine as "genocide", but it seems his administration is still unsure how much intelligence to share with Ukraine.
Read more: Biden calls Putin a 'dictator'; another 'slip of the tongue'?
Since late February, the Biden administration has made many adjustments to a secret order governing what information US agencies can disclose with Ukraine. Much of what the US gathers is shared, but some are not.
The most recent adjustments happened last week when US intelligence authorities removed certain geographic restrictions on the delivery of actionable information – the type of information utilized in minute-by-minute combat judgments, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Instructions have also been revised to reduce delays. According to one intelligence official, the recent upgrade is meant to provide US officials with "added clarity," enabling for speedier and more comprehensive collaboration with Ukraine.
The changes in intelligence guidelines reflect the administration's shifting assessments of what Russia could deem escalatory. This week, the Pentagon also promised $800 million in fresh military aid, which might include more potent weaponry and protective equipment.
Just yesterday, Biden revealed he was considering sending senior US officials to Ukraine, which would be but another bid by Washington to show support for Kiev as the latter keeps on asking for more backing.
The instruction continues to limit Ukrainians' access to intelligence concerning forces in Russia or neighboring Belarus. One anonymous US intelligence official stated, “We are intensely sharing timely intelligence with the Ukrainians to help them defend themselves throughout their country, including in areas held by Russia before the 2022 invasion."
Republicans sent a letter to Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, urging her to “proactively share intelligence with the Ukrainians to help them protect, defend, and retake every inch of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, which includes Crimea and the Donbass.”
The senators expressed concern that not enough intelligence was being given to Ukrainian forces. Democrats did not join the letter.
Read more: US Republicans split over Ukraine
Lawmakers from both parties have spoken broadly about the limits on US intelligence sharing with Ukraine since the beginning of the military operation, knowing that Ukraine relies on the US and West for intelligence.
Read more: US arms supplies to Kiev may end up in shadow markets of other countries
In a TV interview in March, Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, disclosed that the White House was holding back some real-time intelligence “because that steps over the line to making us participating in the war.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., on March 1 accused the White House of delaying intelligence due to “overly-lawyered processes."
Last month, Tod Wolters, the supreme NATO commander for Europe, was asked by a Republican on the house intelligence committee if he was satisfied with the speed of intelligence being sent to Ukraine.
Wolters stated that he was "comfortable" but added, "I always will say that even if it occurs in one second, I want it tomorrow to be in a half a second.”