Tapper says White House pushing ‘Russian false flag’ line on Ukraine ‘without a shred of evidence’

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The Biden administration is doubling down on an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping to use “crisis actors” to stage a “false flag operation” for the purposes of triggering a war with Ukraine.

During an interview Sunday with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CNN host Jake Tapper tried pressing him for evidence to substantiate this theory.

“You have been warning about the Russians using a false flag operation to justify invading Ukraine. That’s a strong claim to make without presenting a shred of evidence,” he bluntly said.

“Is there anything more you can tell the public, a public that might be justifiably rather skeptical of claims about intelligence?”

Sullivan replied with a lengthy spiel that didn’t appear to actually answer the question.

“Well, let me make three points on this. First, we’re not putting forward this intelligence to start a war, which has happened in the past, Jake. We are putting forward this intelligence to stop a war. And I think that fundamentally gives it, at the outset, a different level of credibility,” he said.

“Secondly, this is consistent with the Russian playbook. We have seen them do this before many times. You ask any Russia expert, they will point to examples of where Russia has used false flag operations as pretext to start military action.”

Despite the history mentioned by Sullivan, even establishment reporters have compared this unsubstantiated conspiracy to “Alex Jones territory.”

When an Associated Press reporter asked State Department spokesperson Ned Price for evidence of this claim about a week ago, he failed to provide any, prompting the reporter to exclaim, “Crisis actors? Really? This is like Alex Jones territory.”


Sullivan first broached the theory last month.

“Our intelligence community has developed information, which has now been downgraded, that Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating the pretext for an invasion. We saw this playbook in 2014,” he said.

“They are preparing this playbook again and we will have, the administration will have, further details on what we see as this potential laying of the pretext to share with the press over the course of the next 24 hours.”

Continuing his remarks Sunday, Sullivan added, “And then, third, if you look at the Russian media, they are laying the groundwork for a potential pretext by raising the possibility of attacks by Ukrainian forces on either Russians themselves or Russia’s proxy forces in the Donbass.”

He concluded by claiming that America’s “NATO allies” are allegedly also warning of a false flag operation.

Tapper immediately fired back by drawing attention to one person who’s certainly not touting a false flag theory — Ukrainian President Zelensky.

“Zelensky said at a press conference this week that — quote — ‘the best friend for enemies is panic in our country. And all this information helps only to create panic. It doesn’t help us,'” he noted.

“Zelensky also questioned public reports about a Wednesday invasion. Is the U.S. sparking panic in Ukraine, or is the reason you’re releasing all this information and making all these claims to try to knock Putin off course?”

Sullivan replied by suggesting the fact that Russia “has amassed more than 100,000 troops on the border of Ukraine” is somehow proof of a hidden false flag operation.

“[W]hat we are trying to do publicly is be transparent to American citizens that they should leave Ukraine immediately, because there will not be a military evacuation in the event of an invasion,” he added.

“And we are trying to tell the Ukrainians to prepare and be ready for this as well, as well as coordinate with our NATO allies and partners, so that we are able to defend NATO territory and deter any further Russian aggression should they move on Ukraine.”

It’s not clear to many how trotting out a wild conspiracy theory and then refusing to offer substantive proof to back up the theory is an act of transparency.

What does seem obvious to critics is that neither the Biden administration nor its top officials, certainly including Sullivan, deserve to be trusted:

As noted above by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, Sullivan played a role in laundering the Russian collusion delusion hoax that, incidentally, had been comprised entirely of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories …


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