French military intelligence chief General Eric Vidaud is to lose his job over the failure to predict Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, in a rare example of Western high officials facing real consequences for institutional failure.
General Vidaud, who has headed the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM) for seven months, will depart immediately due to “insufficient briefings” and a “failure to master the issues,” according to French Ministry of the Armed Forces report cited by European Union-funded news outlet Euronews.
General Thierry Burkhard, France’s current Chief of Defence Staff, had to admit in an interview with Le Monde in early March that “[t]he Americans said that the Russians were going to attack, and they were right,” while “Our services rather thought that the conquest of Ukraine would have a monstrous cost and that the Russians had other options [to bring down the Ukrainian government].”
While the DRM appears to have tried to defend its soon to be former man, with a source telling the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency that his role was to “military intelligence on operations, not on premeditation” and that, moreover, they had said Russia had the means to invade Ukraine and “what has happened proves [the DRM] right” rather than incompetent, they have nevertheless paid the price for apparently failing to predict events as effectively as their American and British counterparts.
“France, Germany, and Italy should hang their heads in shame. Where are all the Remoaners now? What are you going to say about this? You still want to be part of the corrupt EU when their only concern is lining their pockets?” https://t.co/ki4UAHJgqk
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 19, 2022
“The warning is for the entire [French intelligence] community. You have to be efficient and meet all the threats,” remarked Professor Alexandre Papaemmanuel of Paris’s Institute of Political Studies (IEP).
Prior to the invasion, a source at the French presidential palace had downplayed the prospects of an imminent attack, sneering that “We can see the same number of trucks, tanks, personnel [and] have observed the same movements but we cannot deduce from all this that an invasion is imminent,” adding that Germany was also sceptical of “alarmist” rhetoric from “Anglo-Saxon” governments.