On Thursday, the White House said that the US is sharing intelligence with Ukraine in “real time” to help the Ukrainians fight against Russia.
“We have been sharing it real time,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “We have consistently been sharing intelligence that includes information the Ukrainians can use to inform and develop their military response to Russia’s invasion.”
Psaki’s comments appeared to contradict earlier remarks from Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the chair of the House Armed Services Committee. Smith said the US is not “providing the kind of real time targeting” intelligence that it has used in previous conflicts because that kind of cooperation “steps over the line to making us participate in the war.”
Psaki was asked about Smith’s comments and appeared to say that he was wrong. “I would just say that there’ve been a range of reports out there that are false. We can’t get into details of all of our intelligence sharing for obvious reasons. But we’ve continued and consistently shared a significant amount of detailed, timely intelligence on Russia’s plans and activities with the Ukrainian government to help Ukrainians defend themselves,” she said.
It’s not entirely clear from Psaki’s comments if the US is giving Ukraine targeting intelligence it can use to hit Russian forces. An anonymous US official told Reuters that there are limits to what the US can see in Ukraine since it doesn’t have spy planes flying above or troops on the ground. But it’s possible that the US is sharing satellite data that can be used to hit Russian targets.
Either way, the admission that the US is sharing intelligence with Ukraine to help them fight and the fact that the US is sending anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles into the warzone shows how deeply involved Washington is in the conflict, which risks provoking Moscow.