A possible excuse has emerged for why the intelligence community failed to predict the Russian push into Crimea — although it requires assuming that Vladimir Putin's opposition to using electronics is the standard for the country.
Putin doesn't use cell phones. He doesn't text. He rarely ventures "into that place where you apparently live, that Internet," according to Time's Simon Shuster. And that means that he is "a very hard target for foreign spies." Sound crazy? Well, you didn't build your career working for the KGB in a country that was unabashed about spying on its citizens.
"Putin’s technophobia is part of a Russian tradition older than the telephone itself: an aversion to blabbering that has been hardwired into the national psyche after a century of life in an industrial police state," Shuster writes. "'This is not a telephone conversation,' Russians like to say in the middle of a telephone conversation, reminding each other that only the most innocent chatter is safe to transmit over an insecure line." Working for the very agency responsible for listening in on those calls almost certainly gave Putin a heightened sense of their risk.