At CIA headquarters, Biden praises US intelligence for Putin's warnings

by Jeff Mason

LANGLEY, Va. (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday thanked staff at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters for warning the world about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to invade Ukraine, praising what he called the “silent bravery” of Americans. spies

Marking the 75th anniversary of the CIA, Biden said he had been involved with the agency for 52 of those years, first as a junior senator on a committee created in 1975 to investigate mind control experiments and other abuses by the agency.

Intelligence collected by the CIA exposed Putin’s plans and allowed Washington to warn other countries about the war, he said.

“It was thanks to the incredible work of our intelligence professionals that we were able to warn the world of what Vladimir Putin was planning in Ukraine,” he said. “Exposing Putin’s playbook tore a gigantic hole in the pretense and debunked his lies about what we were doing in Ukraine.”

Before Russia’s invasion on February 24, as Russia massed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, Putin repeatedly accused the United States and other Western powers of deliberately creating a stage to draw Moscow into the war.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

Biden’s speech was a stark contrast to that of former President Donald Trump, who delivered his first speech as president at CIA headquarters, criticizing the media and his political opponents in front of the “wall of stars” reminiscent of dozens of CIA agents. who died in service.

Biden noted that this year two stars had been added to the wall. “Your physical health and well-being are of vital importance to me and your leadership here at the CIA,” Biden said, in a possible reference to Havana Syndrome, a series of anomalous health incidents that have affected some 200 diplomats and US intelligence services. officers worldwide.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason in Langley, Virginia; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Matthew Lewis)

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