Spy agency leaks of Russian plans point to future of information warfare, says Senator Warner

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Written by Suzanne Smalley

U.S. intelligence officials have gone “way beyond their traditional comfort zone” in recent weeks by publicly relaying near real-time intelligence to hamper Russian operations in Ukraine, the Senate committee chairman said Monday. intelligence.

The ‘advanced intelligence’ work on display in Ukraine represents a major shift from how US spy agencies have fought past wars, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said at a forum held by the Washington think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Warner cited two examples of where he believes the new tactic has thwarted Russia: intelligence gathered about a month ago suggested that Vladimir Putin’s government would stage a coup in Ukraine and install a new leader, but US and UK intelligence announced these plans in advance. . The United States also disclosed Russian plans to produce a series of videos apparently containing Russian corpses.

“US intelligence explained what these videos would look like, even indicating where the Russian corpses would be,” Warner said, “throwing Putin off guard.”

After decades of counterterrorism work following the 9/11 attacks, America’s intelligence apparatus is entering what national security analysts call the “great power conflict.” This change will have wider implications for how intelligence is shared and how so-called information warfare is waged, experts said at the CSIS event.

The use of information warfare in Ukraine is a harbinger of the future in which conflicts will be shaped by information before a single shot is fired, said Glenn Gerstell, adviser head of CSIS’s international security program.

“The ubiquity and accuracy of open source information is good for the dissemination of classified information because it helps hide its source.”

— Glenn Gerstell, Senior Advisor at CSIS

The growing amount of open-source information available to everyone makes intelligence officials less worried about compromising sources and methods by disclosing findings in advance, Gerstell said.

“The ubiquity and accuracy of open source information is good for the dissemination of classified information because it helps hide its source,” the former National Security Agency general counsel said. “In future conflicts, we are going to be inundated with information.”

Gerstell pointed to another recent posting by US officials on Russia’s plans to falsely claim a chemical weapons attack, saying the US disclosure was an example of a well-honed information warfare apparatus that was ” a major achievement of any war effort in recent history”. ”

When asked who should be credited with the change in public information, Warner said that while he wasn’t sure exactly who was behind the new posture, he “want to give a big thank you [Gen. Paul] Nakasone at the NSA.

Warner said he hoped the new culture would continue, especially since Russia excels at weaponizing information.

“If we can share intelligence with the public and with our allies in real time, that puts us back in the game in terms of information warfare,” Warner said. “Over the past few years, frankly, Russia has been much better at using information warfare, especially disinformation… The power of information sharing – this should be a stronger part of our military, diplomatic and global policy.”



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