Psaki denial that US gave Ukraine intel to help sink Russian warship has a major leak

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, in one of her last opportunities for a press conference gaffe, recently denied the fact that the United States had been sharing intelligence information on the location of the Russian warship Moskva. This comes after Ukrainian forces sank the Moskva several weeks ago using two R-330 anti-ship missiles.

U.S. officials have also confirmed that the intelligence information from the United States and other countries in NATO is routinely shared with the Ukrainian Military.

Initially Psaki claimed that any reports of the United States sharing information on the whereabouts of the Moskva were untrue; but at this point Psaki has developed a Pavlovian type response to deny and deflect any potentially contentious questioning, even if the sharing of intelligence has been confirmed by multiple Officials within the administration.

During her press briefing on Air Force One last Friday, Psaki had this to say in response to the sharing of intelligence and the sinking of the Moskva:

“Well, let me first say, to speak to the reports: They’re inaccurate. We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva. We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out. We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case.”

The problem with her response is that two days prior, John Kirby, the press secretary for the Department of D\efense, gave a completely different statement in his briefing:

“And then lastly, if I could, just to address an issue which I know is on everyone’s mind today, and this is the issue of intelligence sharing with Ukraine.  I just want to stress a couple of things… First, the United States provides battlefield intelligence to help Ukrainians defend their country, and we’ve talked about that quite a bit.”

Kirby was questioned further and although he was understandably reluctant to go into detail, he was again very clear in confirming the sharing of information:

“We do provide them useful intelligence, timely intelligence, that allows them to make decisions to better defend themselves against this invasion.  And — and I think the less said about that, honestly, the better.”

Immediately after Kirby’s briefing, the media began contacting their sources inside the intelligence community to understand just how much information we are sharing with the Ukrainians. NBC news produced an article that same day confirming that the United States had helped identify the Moskva.

“The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, U.S. officials told NBC News. The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.”

This incredible divergence in rhetoric from Jen Psaki came as a shock to many in the media. Even though the press secretary for the Pentagon confirmed the reports of our intelligence role in the war and in the sinking of the Moskva, it seems that the press secretary for the White House was the last to know.

 

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