The Real Vladimir Putin – WSJ

How many CIA chiefs and top diplomats have passed before Congress since 1999 and yet never were asked about Ryazan? That’s the Russian city where an alleged Chechen terrorist bombing campaign came to an abrupt end after Mr. Putin’s own security officials were caught planting a bomb in the basement of an apartment block.

A search of congressional hearing transcripts finds only three mentions of Ryazan over the decades. When I once put the question informally to an ex-top national security official, all I got was a studiously blank stare and a claim not to remember seeing any reports on the subject.Then came President Trump. Lo, in a nationally broadcast hearing, Florida Republican Marco Rubio put to Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson a direct question on the “incredible body of reporting” suggesting the apartment bombings were carried out by the Putin regime.

Mr. Tillerson, a private citizen, was exactly the wrong person to ask. But he gamely admitted to being aware of the reports: “Those are very, very serious charges to make,” he said, adding, “I understand there is a body of record in the public domain. I’m sure there’s a body of record in the classified domain.”Now confirmed as secretary of state, Mr. Tillerson will be back many times before the Senate, and presumably Mr. Rubio will ask him what he now believes after seeing classified documents.

This may be a turning point.

Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all wanted things from Mr. Putin and had a firm policy of ignoring Ryazan. They needed to preserve Mr. Putin’s acceptability as somebody Western leaders could meet and deal with.

Source: The Real Vladimir Putin – WSJ