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Intelligence chair: US can’t crack Putin

– Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea almost without warning, and U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t quite sure what he might do next, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers said.

“You know, part of the problem has been that it is really difficult with Putin – he has continued to shrink,” Rogers, R-Mich., said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “Those who made decisions, his inner circle has gotten very, very small.”

Asked if U.S. intelligence was sure what Putin’s next move might be, Rogers replied, “No, you can’t get in his head.”

If history is a judge, Rogers said of the Russian president, “there’s more that he’s going to do.”

“I believe he’ll probably try to create a land bridge from Transnistria down across the top of the Baltic Sea to Crimea,” Rogers said. “And so we have some concerns that he is trying to create land bridges from Russia to Armenia. In Georgia, we have some concerns that he’d try to create a land bridge in Ukraine.”

Rogers said lawmakers on his panel are reviewing Defense Department and CIA reports issued ahead of the Crimea takeover – “one of them got it completely wrong, one at least laid out the scenario” – to find out what was missed.

“It could be a valuable lesson,” he said. “I think it, you know, a teaching moment for all of us.”

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