Nuclear horror fears: 'Unhinged' Putin heading for 'direct' war with NATO – ex-CIA agent


Robert Baer fears things are “likely to get a lot worse” with the country’s “unhinged” President Vladimir Putin pursuing a war of “Russian fascism”. Former CIA case officer Mr Baer, has highlighted his concerns about Putin in his new book, The Fourth Man, in which he details the hunt for a KGB agent who rose up through the ranks of the US intelligence agency in the 1990s.

Washington’s subsequent underestimation of Moscow resulted in it being caught flat-footed by Putin’s annexation of Crimea, and ultimately his full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, his book suggests.

Mr Baer, 69, whose other books See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil, were the basis for the Oscar-winning 2005 film Syriana, told “What we have today is worse than anything during the Cold War.

“There’s no question the West had to support Ukraine but at the same time we’re inching toward a direct conflict between NATO and Russia.

“Whether or not it goes nuclear is anyone’s guess.”

He added: “Everyone knew about Putin’s supposedly finding God and his embrace of what can be described as Russian fascism, but on other hand no one forecast his delusions would be translated into an open-ended land war and genocide.

“If Putin is truly as unhinged as he appears, things are likely to get a lot worse.”

Mr Baer was also sceptical when it came to rumours suggesting Putin was suffering from cancer or some other serious or even terminal illness.

READ MORE: Putin ‘quite a weak player’ as Russia expert exposes pivotal mistake

Referring to the infamous British spy ring spearheaded by Kim Philby and Guy Burgess, he added: “Including the Kremlin. KGB moles in America also did an enormous amount of damage, worse than the Cambridge Five.

“So little wonder the CIA missed the KGB hardliners behind Putin and their plans to turn back the clock, to include folding Ukraine back into the Russian empire.

“Incidentally, the more I learn about Putin’s rise the more I believe he was the frontman in a silent KGB coup rather than a mistake by Yeltsin.”

The infiltration had compromised the ability of the United States to keep tabs on post-Soviet Russia, Mr Baer claimed.

He said: “The immediate impact of the CIA’s failure to keep Russia’s pulse is that it’s been unable to connect the dots, namely Putin’s takeover of Crimea in 2014 with his decision to invade Ukraine this February.

“Not truly understanding Putin’s ambitions and then not reacting decisively to Crimea amounts to President Obama and Europe’s Munich.

“As for Trump, Putin was all the more encouraged by Trump never stopping talking about leaving Nato. This is not to mention Putin thought the US was led by an aliterate, nativist fool who’d managed to return the United States to isolationism.”

The Fourth Man: The Hunt for the KGB’s CIA Mole and Why the US Overlooked Putin is published by Octopus Books.


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