US President Joe Biden gave the order to declassify intelligence in the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 because US officials’ claims about the impending attack were being met with “skepticism” by American partners and allies, according to the nation’s top spymaster.
“When we explained to our policymakers and our policymakers went to their interlocutors, they found that there was a fair amount of skepticism about it," Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said at a cybersecurity conference on Monday.
"As a consequence, the President came back to us and said, ‘you need to go out and share as much as you possibly can and ensure that folks see what it is that you're seeing, so that we can engage again and perhaps have more productive conversations about how to plan for essentially the potential of a Russian invasion'."
Some context: Dating back to the early days of the Russian buildup on the Ukrainian border, the Biden administration has been selectively declassifying and releasing intelligence surrounding Russia’s war in Ukraine, both to media organizations and to other friendly nations. The approach has been aimed at combating Russian propaganda globally and to ensure the US partners and allies are sharing a unified picture.
Haines said Monday the US “did a lot of sharing in this space with partners and allies,” ultimately developing “mechanisms for sharing” that can be used in the future.