Given the reputation of the CIA, the latest message coming out of the agency is either an informal assessment or a very subtle threat, and Russia is sure to take notice in either case.
For months now, persistent rumors have suggested that Vladimir Putin is dying of cancer. And these aren’t just frivolous bits of hearsay either, with Pentagon sources having been involved in breaking the potential news.
This would also explain the rash fatalism of the invasion of Ukraine, in which Russia has been completely embarrassed from stem to stern.
But now, the director of the CIA seems to believe that Putin is “entirely too healthy”, with a statement that almost sounds like a threat coming from the covert intelligence organization.
Vladimir Putin is “entirely too healthy,” CIA Director William Burns said Wednesday, throwing cold water on constant rumors that the Russian president is suffering from illness as he pursues his war on Ukraine.
Burns, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, noted that his declaration was “not a formal intelligence judgment.” Still, given his position, Burns’ comment could help dampen hopes among Putin’s adversaries that the Russian’s demise is near.
And while there’s no telling how tongue-in-cheek this “too healthy” comment was, Burns did provide a more direct warning to those who would seek to assist the Kremlin in their illegitimate invasion.
Burns, a former career diplomat who did two tours in Moscow, spent much of his appearance in Aspen responding to questions about Russia and the war in Ukraine.
“As far as we can tell, he’s entirely too healthy,” he said when asked about Putin’s health.
He indicated that the Iranians should rethink any decision to give drones to Putin. At the same time, Burns said that the fact that Putin is turning to Iran for such weaponry is a sign of the weakness of Russia’s own defense sector.
The persistent rumors of Putin’s health troubles have been bolstered by instances in which the Russian leader appeared frail, including recent photographs in which the former KGB agent could be seen gripping a table as though his life depended on it and intelligence that suggests Putin’s excrement is being sent back to Moscow to prevent health-related spying.