Jeff Seldin Profile picture
Jul 20 33 tweets 24 min read
NEW-"Watching the images of Pres. #Putin & #Iran's supreme leader meeting yesterday in #Tehran did not exactly fill me w/nostalgia" @CIA Director William Burns tells #AspenSecurity

But "The reality is Russians & Iranians need each other right now..."
"...both heavily sanctioned countries, both looking to break out of political isolation" per @CIA's Burns "But if they need each other they don't really trust each other in the sene they're energy rivals & historical competitors"

"Both sides are looking to demonstrate they have options" per @CIA's Burns

Says mtg shows "the deficiencies of #Russia's defense industry today,the difficulties they're having" but notes "there are limits I think to the ways in which they're going to be able to help one another"
Warning to #Iran from @SecDef that it would be a "very, very bad" idea for #Iran to provide #Russia w/drones - "Sec. Austin's very good at understatement" per @CIA's Burns

"I think he's right"
#Turkey's involvement in #Iran-#Russia summit - "Turkey's very adept & have a lot of practice at juggling a lot of apparently contradictory relationships" per @CIA's Burns

Points out #Syria was part of the discussion
.@CIA's Burns praises #Turkey's role in trying to allow grain exports from #Ukraine to resume

"That's a commendable effort...there were at least some encouraging statements" he says
#Putin's mindset-"I've watched him stew in what is a very combustible mix of grievance & ambition & insecurity" per @CIA's Burns

"He's professionally trained to be a cynic abt human nature...always attuned to vulnerabilities"
#Russia's #Putin "He's a big believer in control & intimidation & getting even" per @CIA's Burns "He really is an apostle of payback in a lot of ways"

"All of those qualities have hardened over the last decade"
"As his grip on power has tightened, as his circle of advisers has narrowed, his own personal sense of destiny & his appetite for risk has grown" per @CIA's Burns
"Nowhere are those views harder than on #Ukraine" per @CIA's Burns

#Putin "is convinced that his destiny as #Russia's leader is to restore Russia as a great power"
"#Putin really does believe his rhetoric...that #Ukraine's not a real country" per @CIA's Burns "He believes its his entitlement, its #Russia's entitlement to dominate Ukraine"
NEW: "There are lots of rumors abt Pres. #Putin's health" per @CIA's Burns "As far as we can tell, he's entirely too healthy..."

"It's not a formal intelligence judgment" Burns cautions
US relationship w/#Ukraine intelligence - "We're confident that the partnerships we built are effective ones" per @CIA's Burns
US intel estimates on #Russia|n casualties in #Ukraine - in the range of 15,000 killed & 45,000 wounded, per @CIA's Burns

"The Ukrainians have suffered as well, probably a little less than that"
A #Ukraine counterpart told the US, "All the dumb #Russia|ns are dead" per @CIA's Burns

"I think what he meant by that is the Russians have adapted...Putin has shrunk their objectives at least for the time being"
"In a way, what the #Russia|n military has done is retreat to a more comfortable way of war, in a sense, by using their advantages in long-range firepower to standoff & effectively destroy Ukrainian targets" per @CIA's Burns

Says it reminds him of 1st #Chechen war in 1994
"The #Ukrainians, their will remains quite strong" per @CIA's Burns "We see this on the ground"
"#Putin's that he can succeed in a grinding war of attrition, that they can wear down the #Ukrainian military, that winter's coming & so he can strangle the Ukrainian economy" per @CIA's Burns

Putin also thinks he can wear down #Europe & the US, he adds
"My own strong view is that #Putin was wrong in his assumptions about breaking the alliance & breaking Ukrainian will before the war began & I think he's just as wrong now" per @CIA's Burns

"Real countries fight back & that's what #Ukraine has done"
"He really thought he could take #Kyiv in less than a week" per @CIA's Burns on #Putin

"It's hard not to see this a a strategic failure"

"These are awful & shameful steps" @CIA Dir Burns says of #Russia holding #BrittneyGriner #PaulWhelan others

"The Russians are quite cold-blooded about this"
#China-#Russia: "On the economic side the Chinese have certainly stepped up their purchases of Russian energy" per @CIA's Burns "On the military side they've been very cautious by what he can tell"
#China, Xi Jinping "unsettled to some extent, especially in the 1st phase of #Putin's war in #Ukraine by what they saw" per @CIA's Burns "Unsettled by the military performance of the Russians early on & the performance of Russia's weaponry, unsettled by the economic uncertainty"
#China-#Taiwan - "I wouldn't underestimate Pres. Xi's determination to assert China's control, the People Republic of China's control over Taiwan" per @CIA's Burns
"I think he's [Xi] determined to ensure that his military has the capability to take such an action shud he decide to move in that direction" per @CIA's Burns on #China-#Tawain
Lessons of #Russia-#Ukraine for #China?

"Our sense is it probably affects less the question of whether ... but how & when they might do it" per @CIA's Burns

"You don't achieve quick, decisive victories w/underwhelming force"
NEW-#Iran breakout time for material for nuke warhead down from about a year before the US left the #JCPOA to a breakout time "measured in weeks" per @CIA's Burns

But "the Iranians have not resumed the weaponization effort they had underway up until 2004..."
Trend lines for #Iran's nuke weapon program - still yet to be resumed - "The trend lines are quite troubling" per @CIA's Burns
#Iran missile program - "They have the biggest arsenal of missiles of anyone in the Middle East right now" per @CIA's Burns

That & drones "significant concerns" per Burns
#HavanaSyndrome - "There's still more to learn" per @CIA's Burns. noting "We don't assess a foreign player, the #Russia|ns or any one else, is behind or is responsible for a sustained global campaign"
"We still have work to do" per @CIA's Burns, promising to "be straight" with the workforce about what the agency finds & what it doesn't find
#ClimateChange - "The biggest existential threat in many ways is climate change" per @CIA's Burns

"It is our responsibility to help policy makers in the US gvt understand the consequences of climate change in already fragile societies..."
"I'm quite concerned" per @CIA's Burns abt impact of #climatechange

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More from @jseldin

Jul 22
BREAKING: US announces new, $270 million security package for #Ukraine, per @WHNSC's John Kirby

Includes 4 more #HIMARS "which the #Ukrainians have been using very effectively", 36k rounds of artillery ammo, some anti-armor systems

Also includes 580 #PhoenixGhost drones
"We'll have more packages of aid [for #Ukraine] to announce in the weeks and months to come" per @WHNSC's John Kirby
White House praises grain deal signed Friday but cautions "success of course is going to depend on #Russia's compliance w/the agreement" per @WHNSC's John Kirby
Read 6 tweets
Jul 22
"We used to always talk about super powers & I think we now live in a world where we need to talk about cyber powers" @Microsoft President & Vice Chair @BradSmi tells #AspenSecurity

"2 of the great #cyber powers in the world are #Russia & #China..."
"The United States is the strongest #cyber power of all" per @Microsoft's @BradSmi

"But what we're fundamentally seeing is #Ukraine in particular is Russia use its very sophisticated cyber capabilities to do 3 things..."
"One is support an invasion, including w/destructive cyber attacks" per @Microsoft's @BradSmi

"The 2nd is do what the #Russian gvt does year-in, year-out, which is very broad-based espionage & hacking, both of gvt & pvt sector"
Read 10 tweets
Jul 22
#Drone threat to the US - "We [US] have to think abt whether or not humans will remain in the kill chain bcs some of our adversaries have decided they will not & that the targeting will be done much quicker" House Intel Comm.'s @RepJasonCrow tells #AspenSecurity
Threat to US from drones-"How do we stop those drones before they ever launch?" asks @USSOCOM Commander Gen. Richard Clarke tells #AspenSecurity

"The cost for very very low" he says, adding there also needs to be discussion of norms for use of drones
#Chemcial-#Biological threat to US significant, even from non-state actors - "It's pretty simple to do" per @USSOCOM's Gen Clarke
Read 15 tweets
Jul 21
"#Iran is threatening the other countries as much as it is threatening the State of #Israel" Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz tells #AspenSecurity

"Iran is a global challenge. You can see it in #Venezeula. You can see it in South #Africa, in South America... #Nigeria"
#Israel-#Ukraine - "Israel is definitely on the Western side. Israel is definitely on the #Ukrainian side" per DefMin Gantz

"We are supporting it in all the diplomatic measures. We are supporting it w/all the humanitarian aid...We have opened a field hospital"
Why not more for #Ukraine? "We do have our operational considerations" per #Israel's Gantz

"We are sharing an aerial border w/the #Russia|ns above #Syria ... so we have other calculus that we have to take into mind"
Read 7 tweets
Jul 21
NEW: 15,000 #Russia|n soldiers killed in #Ukraine - estimate given by @CIA Dir William Burns Wednesday - "probably a conservative estimate" #Britain's @ChiefMI6 Richard Moore tells #AspenSecurity
NEW: #Russia in #Ukraine: "I think they're about to run out of steam" per @ChiefMI6

"Our assessment is that the Russians will increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower, materiel over the next few weeks"
Inevitable #Russia|n pause - "That will give #Ukrainians the ability to strike back" per @ChiefMI6
Read 20 tweets
Jul 21
Helping #Somalia-"We get it by, with & through" partnerships, LtGen Michael Langley, nominated to lead @USAfricaCommand, tells SASC

"It's the best thing that will thwart the great power competition that's coming w/these false value propositions" from #Russia, #China Image
US working w/#Africa|n countries to help them establish maritime exclusion zones - "That's going to be the biggest deterrent, or assurance actions... that's going to deter #China from trying to take over the West Coast of the African continent" per LtGen Langley
"#AFRICOM needs more resources, not less" per SASC Ranking Member @JimInhofe, saying he's heard rumors support to @USAfricaCommand is going to be downgraded
Read 14 tweets

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