What Is Putin Up To?

I noted this story in the LAT yesterday morning but ignored it. It smelled like a barrel of week-old cod to me. I was pretty sure it was bogus and I couldn’t figure out why Putin would be doing it; he’s already got Junior wrapped around his little finger, he doesn’t need to curry favor or buy influence, and Baku is a done deal. So why? The article claims that in ‘Russian political circles’ it’s believed that Putin is trying to help Junior’s re-election; if that’s true then the question is, ‘What does Putin want from Bush that he doesn’t think he’ll get from Kerry?’

I still haven’t figured out the answer to that, but I was right that it was bogus. Reuters is reporting that the State Department doesn’t know what the hell Putin is on about.

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (Reuters) – Russia warned the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein planned to hit targets on U.S. soil, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.Putin’s remarks looked certain to help President Bush, but officials at the State Department expressed surprise, saying they knew of no such information from Russia.

“This information was passed on to our American colleagues,” he said. He added, however, that Russian intelligence had no proof that Saddam’s agents had been involved in any particular attack.State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters he did not know anything about the information that Putin said Russia passed on. No such information was communicated from Russia through the State Department, he said.

“Everybody’s scratching their heads,” said one State Department official, who asked not to be named

So is everybody else. That even the new Russia would share asset intelligence of such questionable provenance and ambiguity is hard to believe; people keep forgetting but Putin is ex-KGB and the KGB makes Dick Cheney look like a blabbermouth gossip. They would share intelligence with us only if they got something that meant a great deal more to them in return. Unless, of course, they knew the information was useless, outdated, or untrue. But if they got what they wanted then, why is Putin doing this now? Why go out of his way to back Junior’s insistence that there was a connection when the 9/11 Commisiion says there’s wasn’t, or at least not much of one?

The only answer I can come up with–and I’m not satisfied with it; it’s too simple–is what I said at the top: Putin’s got Junior wrapped around his little finger. No inconvenient speeches against the brutal suppression of independence in Chechnya, no opposition to the destruction of Russia’s new free press, no blocking of loan guarantees on the basis of his extensive human rights violations, and so on and so on, none of which rolling-over-and-showing-his-belly he can expect from Kerry.

As for the claim itself, Steve Soto at Left Coaster quickly pulls it apart.

Putin is now saying that he and his intelligence services knew that Saddam was planning terrorist attacks against US targets here and abroad back in the Fall of 2002. Yet he had his ex-military people assisting Saddam in early 2003. Then why is Bush even dealing with Putin now? Wasn’t our new policy as outlined by Bush, Cheney, Rice, et. al., to not only go after terrorists but also those states and leaders who aid terrorists and their organizations?Or does oil change everything?

Steve, I think you just answered your own question there.


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