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US intelligence under fire over Ukraine

The nation’s top intelligence office denies suggestions the United States was caught off guard by Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, calling reports to that effect “highly inaccurate.”

Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said in a statement Wednesday that the intelligence community has “frequently warned of worrisome trends with respect to Russia’s foreign policy” since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency in 2012.

He included examples issued several days before Russia’s movement last week into the Crimean peninsula during political upheaval in Ukraine.

Some members of Congress have been vocal in their questioning of intelligence ahead of the military steps taken by Putin, and vowed to investigate.

On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, ordered a review of the intelligence assessment leading up to the intervention, Rogers’ spokeswoman Susan Phalen said.

Separately, Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican and a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” that Russia’s intervention was “not predicted” but was “among a list of possibilities.”

He said lawmakers would look at whether “more intelligence could have been gathered” or whether there was a problem with the analysis.

“Now the CIA is right in that they did give that as a possibility but they certainly didn’t say it was going to happen,” he said, noting there would be hearings on the matter.

“But clearly we were not anticipating this level of attack, this level of incursion by the Russians and that is something that as we’re going to have I believe an ongoing series of crises with the Russians we have to do better in the future,” he said.

In the Senate, John McCain pressed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at an Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday on whether Russia’s Crimea action was a surprise.

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