It is not unknown for statesmen with previous experience of secret intelligence to insist upon getting their hands on decrypts of foreign intelligence communications in order to make their own appraisal of events rather than to rely upon the analysis of subordinates whose judgement is not entirely trusted. Winston Churchill certainly did so on a selective basis. President Putin appears to have resisted that temptation.
Putin, as we know, graduated from the KGB in foreign intelligence in 1985 before despatch to Dresden to monitor events in and around the GDR.
Sergei Naryshkin, a former classmate and head of the Russian foreign intelligence service, the SVR, has described for us how the president handles the monitoring of secret intelligence. What he says is therefore of some interest, however heavily censored those comments are.
What Naryshkin says is that Putin sees only “the summaries”, “the refined and focused analysis” of the raw material; not the originals. This is the equivalent of the US president’s daily brief. Putin also receives the summaries on a daily basis, without exception, reads them “attentively” as a professional would, and then writes comments or inserts questions in the text.
ГЛАВА СВР РАСКРЫЛ ТОНКОСТИ РАБОТЫ С ПУТИНЫМ НАД РАЗВЕДДАННЫМИ
Lenta.ru, 6 Ноября