Biden marks CIA’s 75 years as ‘bedrock’ of national security

Jul 7, 2022, 9:59 PM | Updated: Jul 8, 2022, 9:49 pm
President Joe Biden arrives to speak at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va...

President Joe Biden arrives to speak at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., Friday, July 8, 2022. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns follows second from left. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

LANGLEY, Virginia (AP) — President Joe Biden lauded the CIA as the “bedrock of our national security” during a Friday visit to the agency, which also is part of the wide-ranging intelligence effort to support Ukraine’s resistance against Russia.

Biden marked the 75th anniversary of the agency’s founding after World War II. While at the headquarters in Virginia, he thanked the CIA for its work in Ukraine and called America’s intelligence officers “the best in the world.”

Predictions that Russia would invade Ukraine in February provided a public boost for spy agencies that are often criticized and facing new pressure to deliver insights on China and Russia. Biden authorized an unprecedented campaign to declassify findings that have been credited with helping build support for severe Russia sanctions and the ramp-up of military support to Kyiv.

“It was thanks to the incredible work of our intelligence professionals that we were able to inform the world what Vladimir Putin was planning in Ukraine,” Biden told the audience while standing in front of the agency’s memorial wall.

Biden came to the White House with a long history of receiving intelligence briefings, having served eight years as vice president and 36 years as a senator from Delaware, where he led the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and served on the Intelligence Committee when it was first created in the 1970s. The thing he missed most after leaving the vice presidency, he said, was reading the President’s Daily Brief, the compilation of the intelligence community’s top collection and analysis.

“I’ve been involved with your agency for not 75 years, but — I hate to admit it — 52 years,” Biden said to laughs from the officers gathered. “It’s very hard to say.”

Biden has reestablished a more traditional relationship with the CIA and other agencies after former President Donald Trump repeatedly cast doubt on intelligence findings and attacked what he alleged was a “deep state” of opponents.

Still, there were tensions last year concerning Afghanistan, with finger-pointing across the government during the fall of the American-backed government as the Taliban overran Kabul. Current and former intelligence officials worked frantically to evacuate Afghans who had helped the U.S. during the two-decade war.

Douglas London, a former CIA officer who has criticized the agency’s direction in recent years, said the Russia-Ukraine war has shown the CIA is on its way to becoming “an elite spy service again.”

“Its path to redemption has really been facilitated by Ukraine,” said London, author of “The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence.”

Still, the U.S. intelligence community underestimated Ukraine’s ability to resist the Russian invasion and wrongly predicted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government would fall within weeks.

The agencies are reviewing how they assess a foreign government’s perceived “will to fight” — an issue the U.S. also misjudged in Afghanistan last year when it believed President Ashraf Ghani’s government would hold out for months, only for Ghani to flee and the Taliban to take Kabul as the U.S. was trying to evacuate.

Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who sits on the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees, said he’s pushed intelligence officials to review why there were “two significant breakdowns in a year.”

“The quality of the intelligence pre-invasion was excellent and absolutely world-class,” King said in a recent interview. “The problem was the assessment of what would happen after the invasion.”

Most of the intelligence community’s work since the war began has been kept secret. U.S. officials have disclosed that it is providing Ukraine with information that Ukrainian forces have in turn used to hit high-value Russian targets, including the flagship Moskva.

The White House has tried to tamp down suggestions that the U.S. is directly helping Ukraine attack Russia out of concern that Putin may see those suggestions as escalations. Biden has said he wants to avoid a “third world war.”

As Ukraine repelled Russian forces in the first weeks of the war, and under pressure from lawmakers in Washington, the Biden administration loosened its rules on sharing intelligence and is now providing more information to the Ukrainians. It has also committed $7 billion in weapons systems, ammunition and other military aid since the war began.

Ukrainian officials and observers say Ukraine still is vastly outgunned by Russia in what’s become a grinding war of attrition heavily reliant on artillery fire. Putin is believed by U.S. intelligence to have not given up on his initial aims to “neutralize” Ukraine in his eyes.

The U.S. also is involved in shoring up the cyber defenses of Ukraine and other allies against Russia’s capabilities to hack and steal from digital systems. And agencies are on watch for election influence or interference from Russia amid expectations that Putin may use U.S. support for Ukraine as justification for another campaign against an American election.

“Ultimately, the U.S. calculus is this: We want to do everything we can to support the Ukrainians while avoiding a direct conflict with the Russians,” said Dale Buckner, a retired U.S. Army Green Beret who now leads the security firm Global Guardian.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Arizona parents arrested trying to get to locked-down school

PHOENIX (AP) — Police arrested three Arizona parents, shocking two of them with stun guns, as they tried to force their way into a school that police locked down Friday after an armed man was seen trying to get on campus, authorities said. The parents were arrested as they tried to get to their children […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Actor and comedian Teddy Ray dies in Southern California

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Teddy Ray, a comedian and actor who appeared on the HBO Max series “PAUSE with Sam Jay,” has died, authorities confirmed on Saturday. He was 32. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s coroner’s office confirmed that the death of the comedian, whose legal name was Theadore Brown, was […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: Man slashed 3 with machete after trying to buy guns

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (AP) — A Long Island man is facing assault and weapons charges for allegedly attacking three people with a machete at a sporting goods store. Suffolk County police said Saturday that the attack occurred the previous afternoon at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Patchogue, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of New […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Co-CEO of Deutsche Bank Anshu Jain speaks during the annual shareholders meeting in Frankfur...
Associated Press

Former Deutsche Bank Co-CEO Anshu Jain dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Anshu Jain, a former co-CEO of Deutsche Bank, has died, his family said in a statement Saturday. He was 59. Jain died after a battle with duodenal cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2017. Jain was Co-CEO of Deutsche Bank from 2012 to 2015, where he helped build the firm’s […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

2 killed when small plane crashes on roadway in Illinois

HANNA CITY, Ill. (AP) — Two people were killed Saturday when a single-engine plane crashed on a roadway in the small central Illinois community of Hanna City, officials said. According to officials in Peoria County, the plane crashed at about 12:30 p.m. on Route 116. Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said two people who have […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Plane bumps another while backing up at Boston airport

BOSTON (AP) — An airplane bumped into another plane while backing up at Logan International Airport in Boston, prompting an investigation. No one was injured when the two Delta Airlines planes collided at low-speed on Friday night, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which said it is investigating, the Boston Globe reported. One of the […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Biden marks CIA’s 75 years as ‘bedrock’ of national security