(Trends Wide) — President Joe Biden recently told his top Homeland Security officials that leaks about US intelligence sharing with the Ukrainians are not helpful and must stop, according to an official familiar with the conversation.
Last week, after the White House denied providing direct intelligence to the Ukrainians “with the intent to kill Russian generals,” Biden spoke separately with Defense Secretary Austin, CIA Director Burns and CIA Director National Intelligence, Avril Haines. She told them it was not helpful for information about data the United States was sharing with Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion to be made public, an official said, stressing that leaks about such information must stop.
Biden’s message to his top Homeland Security officials was initially reported on NBC News.
US officials have been open about sharing intelligence with the Ukrainians, but have also said there is a fine line on what is shared with them. In addition to sending weapons to the battlefield, the officials also provided intelligence “to help Ukrainians defend their country,” a spokesman for the National Security Council said last week.
Administration officials have previously insisted there are clear limits on the intelligence they share with Ukraine, including a ban on providing accurate intelligence on senior Russian leaders by name. Those limits are part of an effort by the White House to avoid crossing a line that Moscow may see as escalating.
But intelligence-sharing efforts have proven useful. So far, the information has contributed to successful attacks against senior Russian leaders and the flagship of the Russian navy, the Moskva, sources familiar with the matter previously told Trends Wide.
So far, Russia has not taken any known direct action against the United States or NATO in response to ongoing military and intelligence support.
This situation has left US officials speculating about why Moscow has held back, particularly when it comes to cyberattacks, which the US warned before the war that Russia could use in response. Russia has also made no move to attack Kyiv during visits by a string of top US leaders, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
And the country has also not attempted to attack arms shipments flowing through Poland, a NATO country. Only recently has Russia started attacking railways inside Ukraine that are believed to carry Western weapons into battle.
US aid to Ukraine beyond intelligence
In addition to intelligence sharing, the United States has also provided billions in aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
Last week, Biden announced a $150 million package that includes 25,000 155mm artillery shells, counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment, and field equipment and spare parts, according to a White House official.
Biden has proposed a new $33 billion aid package for Ukraine, which he sent to Congress last month. The United States has made it clear that it intends to provide long-term support to Ukraine, and the package proposed last week was more than double the $13.6 billion infusion of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month. .
Trends Wide’s Katie Bo Lillis, Jeremy Herb, Zachary Cohen, Devan Cole, Kate Sullivan and Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.