On CNN Monday, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned that Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine could escalate into invasions of other countries in the region, as well.
"What do you think what happens after Ukraine?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer. "Do you think he's ambitious enough to go after other countries in Eastern Europe, including NATO allies?"
"I wouldn't bet my paycheck that he wouldn't do that," said Clapper. "I mean, you know, he's not getting a lot of advice from people that are telling some of his ideas are bad. He's surrounded by sycophants that are yes men so he's not getting opposing opinions or opposing views, so I think we need to — we need — as the United States, we need the worst case of this and do what we can to reinforce NATO and start those sanctions, turn them on right away, because they won't take effect in the next few days."
"He knows — Putin — if he were to attack one NATO country, he's attacking all 30 NATO countries," said Blitzer. "They are all committed to responding."
"That's correct, and this may not take the form of an overt invasion," said Clapper. "There are other forms of attack that Putin could use, and all of it in the cyber realm, so I think — and the general information operations, misinformation, disinformation, those kinds of things that I think he would employ against former orbit — countries that were formerly in the Soviet orbit, which he also feels very defensive about because he views them as unfriendly, so I don't think just because of what happens in Ukraine, I don't think it's going to be the end of it, and I certainly don't think that if he incorporates these two people's republics into the larger Russian orbit that he's going to stop."
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