U.S. officials are describing Putin as "ignorant" because his advisors are shielding him from how badly the invasion is going. Morning Joe digs in.
"U.S. intelligence officials determined Vladimir Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about Russia's military struggles in Ukraine," Mika Brzezinski said.
"A U.S. official provided NBC News with declassified intelligence claiming there is persistent tension between Putin and his ministry of defense. That's because some senior advisers are, quote, 'too afraid to tell him the truth' about Russia's failures in Ukraine. U.S. officials believe Putin has been getting incomplete or overly optimistic reports about the status of Russian troops, creating a mistrust between Putin and his military leaders.
"Officials told the New York Times the Russian leader seemed genuinely unaware that his military had been using conscripts in Ukraine and that drafted soldiers among those killed in action. They say Putin's ignorance showed a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president. Officials also said Putin had an incomplete understanding about how damaging western sanctions had been on the Russian economy. Here's what some Biden administration officials had to say yesterday."
JOHN KIRBY: It -- understandably, would be an issue of concern if, for not just -- European allies and partners, certainly for Ukraine if Mr. Putin is misinformed or uninformed about what's going on inside Ukraine. It's his military. It's his war. He chose it. And so the fact that he may not have all the context, that he may not fully understand that the degree to which his forces are failing in Ukraine, that's a little discomforting.
ANTHONY BLINKEN: One of the Achilles' heels of autocracies you don't have people in those system who speak truth to power or have the ability to speak truth to power. I think that is something we're seeing in Russia.
"So many things going on here," Joe Scarborough said.
"First of all, U.S. officials telling us the truth about how badly misinformed Vladimir Putin is. That's one. Two, of course, they're using psy-ops most likely on Putin because they've had somebody inside Vladimir Putin's inner circle from the very beginning. Remember, the leadup of the war and Joe Biden suggested this. Leadup to the war, everybody saying Russia wasn't going in. Now the French intel officials, even Zelenskyy saying they weren't going to go in. Biden kept saying, he's going to invade. He's planning to invade. U.S. officials -- we've called it every step of the way and done something extraordinary.
"So many extraordinary things have happened over the past month or so. One of them is, we are sharing our intel information, and now Vladimir Putin has to wake up in the west and read how ignorant he is about what's going on in his own war from our spokesman at the Pentagon, from our secretary of state, from unnamed intel -- I mean, this has got to be driving this guy absolutely crazy. He's -- he's in the dark. He's being lied to by his own people and we're telling him about it," he said.