To say that the geopolitical situation surrounding Ukraine is complex would be a gross understatement; it took me more than a year of constant reading and research to build the background to write about it in Creating Chaos. And much of that background had to come from Ukrainian and Russian journalists and historians, people on the ground for years who had worked at great risk to gain a true understanding of the situation.
At its core is a story of Russia and Ukraine which is reminiscent of America’s sovereignty efforts in both Cuba and Vietnam in the 1960’s….it has far more to do with projection of power and spheres of influence than the interests of the citizens of the nations involved. But that’s a long story, I think I did it justice in Creating Chaos and would be happy to discuss my analysis with anyone reading that work.
My publisher was convinced enough of the significance of the work to actually send copies to all the members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees. I wish they had read the book, or had their staff do so – it would have served them well in the committee testimony they are taking this week.
Which leads me to something not being discussed nearly enough in that discourse – although the media have picked up on a bit of the story they don’t have sufficient history to expand it to showcase the incredible level of American naivety and security compromise that existed in our last couple of years in the Ukraine.
We have known for some time that the internal training for this administration’s staff has been far below the standards for recent administrations – ranging from ethics sessions to security briefings.
I’ve commented in earlier on the fact that the president and his senior staff have not been participating in the types of emergency response planning – including military command and control practices – which have always been important but which were enhanced and taken seriously by all administrations following 9/11.
We have also known that at the very highest level, the president has compromised all standard communications protocols with the use of private cell phones, so have his family and apparently some of his senior appointees.
And now we know from the investigation of evens in the Ukraine, that both the president and his senior staff appear to be totally clueless in regard to security – not just in the United States but in a venue that in contemporary times has become a hub for intelligence wars, much as Berlin was after World War II or Mexico City became during the early 1960’s.
The fact that those in charge of our national security could be so ill informed and negligent in their diplomatic dealings in Ukraine is truly amazing – especially since Russia has successfully used phone intercepts from the Ukraine in political warfare against American diplomatic personnel there before – with one well known public example from 1964.
If you have Creating Chaos, you will find this on pages 288-290 where I discuss the fact that Russia helped install the very sophisticated phone monitoring network now existing in both Ukraine and Russia – the SORM system developed and fielded by the Russian FSB.
In 2014 the American Ambassador and another American diplomat conducted a non-encrypted call and the call was intercepted and recorded…actually ending up on a Russian internet propaganda channel – used in the new style political warfare in Ukrainian elections.
Given the practice of targeting communications of both American diplomats and business people, it is would be safe to assume that all unsecured calls are scooped up and monitored by both Ukrainian and Russian security services. Diplomatic communications in Ukraine are equally, and likely more, compromised than they were in Mexico City circa 1963.
Of course we knew that then, and our intelligence community knows about Ukraine now. But once again it’s clear that few in the Trump administration are listening to them or showing any respect for their warnings.