March 5th, 2014
08:23 PM ET

Rep. King on U.S. intel on Ukraine: The Russian invasion was not predicted

Was the United States caught off guard?

There are serious questions about whether U.S. intelligence failed to predict what's happening on the ground in Ukraine.

In a tense hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Senator John McCain hammered Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking him whether U.S. intelligence was aware of Russia's plans to invade Crimea.

Hagel said that the U.S. was aware of the threat early last week, but that didn't satisfy the senator.

MCCAIN: So, despite all the media reports, our intelligence sources predicted that Lavrov would invade Crimea?
HAGEL: As I said, I don't get into the specifics in open hearing, but if you would like a briefing of your staff on the specifics of your question.
MCCAIN: Well, how about commenting on news reports that say that.
HAGEL: Well, news reports are news reports, but that's not the same as real - it's not real intelligence though.
MCCAIN: OK I - in other words, the fact is, Mr. Secretary, it was not predicted by our intelligence, and that's already been well-
known, which is another massive failure because of our misreading, total misreading, of the intentions of Vladimir Putin.

The CIA responded saying, "Since the beginning of the political unrest in Ukraine, the CIA has regularly updated policymakers to ensure they have an accurate and timely picture of the unfolding crisis. These updates have included warnings of possible scenarios for a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Any suggestion otherwise is flat wrong."

CNN's Erin Burnett asked New York congressman Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, whether McCain went too far?

"The invasion or the incursion was not predicted, however, it was among a list of possibilities," King said. "We are going to hold hearings, do an investigation as to if more intelligence could have been gathered or was the problem with the analysis."

Filed under: International • News • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
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