“It is hard to imagine some senior intelligence person talking with Putin and not telling Putin what he wants to hear, especially if it is a belief that is deeply held, like Putin’s beliefs about Ukraine,” said Jeffrey Edmonds, a former CIA and National Security Council official specializing in the region.
“When it comes to this guy, it’s also clear that the culture of ‘someone is at fault and is going to pay’ is clearly still operative,” said Mr. Edmonds, now at the nonprofit research organization CNA, of the Russian president.
Andrea Kendall-Taylor, who was U.S. deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia from 2015-2018, said Russian security services have overlapping responsibilities and compete for favor from the Kremlin.
Mr. Putin appears to be singling out individuals to “scapegoat and pass the blame,” said Ms. Kendall-Taylor, now at the Center for a New American Security. “I think he’s in a much more precarious position now.”
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