Did Russia evade American spying?

 

Russia might have got a head start on its takeover of Crimea by evading U.S. eavesdropping , The Wall Street Journal reports.

Officials told the WSJ that the U.S. detected Russia's military build-up along its border last month with Crimea, a peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine last week. 

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U.S. intelligence agencies, however, did not intercept any communications that would have exposed their plans in advance. 

"Even though there was a warning, we didn't have the information to be able to say exactly what was going to happen," a senior U.S. official told the WSJ.

As a result, sources said the U.S. has been ramping up its satellite coverage and capabilities to monitor communications across the Baltic States, Ukraine and Russia.

One senior official told the WSJ that the U.S. has gone into “crisis-response mode” and intelligence officials are worried Russia will continue to elude spying from the U.S.

Another person involved in the intelligence improvements said the Obama administration is “very nervous” because “this is uncharted territory.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has launched an investigation into whether U.S. intelligence agencies miscalculated Putin’s goals, the report said.

As early as December, U.S. officials knew Russian President Vladimir Putin was focused on Crimea. Some U.S. officials told the WSJ they suspect Russian forces were moving into Crimea in small groups who would then have begun setting the stage for annexation.

Intelligence agencies, however, didn’t receive any hints of that possibility before the takeover, the report said.  

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