John Brennan, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, despite what can only be considered deteriorating relations with Putin and Russia, is continuing his desire to find common ground with his Russian counterpart.
Russia, U.S. relations have been strained
The United States and Russia have been at loggerheads for some time with Putin seemingly determined to return to a cold war of sorts. Whether we’re speaking of his annexation of Crimea and support for a war in eastern Ukraine, his continued support of Assad with airstrikes aimed at rebels rather than ISIS, his building of a “megabase” in the arctic, or his intention to build new nuclear weapons to negate the United States’ missile shield, things just haven’t been terrifically rosy for some time.
While Donald Trump and his pipe dream of becoming the next President of the United States has promised the American people that he’ll have a good relationship with Putin perhaps even forcing Russia to build a border wall with Mexico (Ok, he didn’t say that), people in the present government are looking to build an intelligence arrangement with Russia that serves both countries now.
(You and your staff can stop reading now Donald, you will not be mentioned again nor relevant to the rest of this piece)
In the wake of the tragic attacks in Paris last week, the need for intelligence sharing became even more glaring as the death count rose at the hands of mad butchers.
Hours before Obama announced new rules that would allow for easier sharing of intelligence with France, Brennan said that his agency is “determined” to keep open lines of communication with Russian intelligence agencies pointing out that the “ISIL threat demands” an “unprecedented level of cooperation” among the international intelligence community.
Obama’s new intelligence sharing with France announced in Turkey today
Today, saw Obama announce the decision to reporters in Turkey today, that was followed by a statement from Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper saying that the new arrangement will promote quicker military planning with regards to Islamic State targets.
“Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper have provided new instructions that will enable U.S. military personnel to more easily share operational planning information and intelligence with our French counterparts on a range of shared challenges to the fullest extent allowed by existing law and policy,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.
The increased airstrikes undertook by France following the attacks on Friday were done so with close cooperation with the American military in the region and at home. Relations between the two nations have been strengthened over the last year, but the military sharing has lagged behind the counter-terrorism cooperation enjoyed by France and the United States.
According to current and former American intelligence officials, the arrangement will allow the States to share intelligence with France that was previously limited to the “Five Eyes” of English-speaking countries – the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The same officials speaking on condition of anonymity maintained that France will not be asked to join the “Five Eyes” group.
Back to the CIA and Russia
Today saw CIA director John Brennan speaking a the Center for Strategic and International Studies where he once again reiterated the need for greater cooperation with Russia following its invasion of the Ukraine in 2014.
He told those assembled that Russia’s increase in troop commitments to Syria have prompted numerous conversations with “my Russian counterpart.” Those conversations included the mention that somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 Russians primarily from the Caucuses and a number of Chechens are active in the Islamic State with a number of them holding high ranks in that “army” of monsters.
“So we’ve been exchanging information,” Brennan said. “I think it needs to be enhanced. But I am determined to continue to work with my Russian counterparts, because of the importance that I think we each can bring to this issue, in terms of our insights, our information, our data and sharing.
“Irrespective of disagreements of policy over Syria, I am determined to work with other country services the best I can in order to prevent successful terrorist attacks,” he added.
Hollande reinforces the need for sharing
French President Francois Hollande announced his hopes that France will work closer with the U.S. and Russia in its war with ISIS and the need to “join our forces” to form a “single coalition” to defeat the group.
Hollande also said that he intended to meet with both Obama and Putin in the coming weeks, but he did fail, or likely chose not to say whether those meetings would be held individually or together.