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U.S. intelligence officials — in leaks to news organizations and quiet conversations in Washington — have begun to blame Edward Snowden for their failure to anticipate Russian aggression in Crimea.
But several current and former intelligence officials said that the U.S. failure to see into Vladimir Putin’s plans is profound and long-running, and that there is little evidence that Snowden’s leaks allowed Russia to evade U.S. intelligence more effectively than it had already been doing.
“The Snowden leaks had nothing to do with Ukraine,” Fred Fleitz, a former senior CIA analyst, told BuzzFeed on Monday.
“Russia could have pulled this off without Snowden,” said another former CIA analyst.
American foreign policy setbacks are inevitably followed by a round of Washington finger-pointing, a sport that is already well underway. Snowden “is clearly in Moscow under the influence of intelligence services for a country that is expanding its borders today using military force. I think there’s a lot more questions that need to be answered here,” House Intelligence Committee chief Mike Rogers, a leading CIA ally, said on Meet The Press Sunday.
Oleksandr Muzychko, an ultra-nationalist member of Ukraine’s recent protests who was wanted in Russia for alleged war crimes, was dragged from a car and shot dead late Monday in the western Ukrainian city of Rivne, local media reports.
There were conflicting accounts of what happened to the man also known as Sashko Biliy.
According to Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Doniy, writing in a Facebook update,unknown assailants cut off Muzychko’s car just before midnight, bringing it to a halt. Muzychko, a bald bear of a man who led the ultra-nationalist group Right Sector, was dragged out of the car, cuffed, and shot twice in the chest.
“Those who killed him made sure that he was not wearing a bulletproof vest and then shot him in the heart,” said Right Sector activist Yaroslav Hranitskiy, reports the Moscow Times.
Interfax, the Russian news agency, said Muzychko opened fire on law enforcement officers.