(Reuters) – The head of France’s military intelligence agency has quit over a failure to predict the war in Ukraine, several media outlets reported on Thursday, citing unidentified sources and an internal email announcing his departure.
The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Eric Vidaud had led the military intelligence agency for seven months but sources told the l’Opinion newspaper and other media that the army had judged his briefings “insufficient” and he lacked “mastery of the subjects”.
The chief of staff of France’s armed forces, Thierry Burkhard, had told Le Monde this month that French intelligence had, unlike their U.S. counterpart, failed to predict Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The Americans said the Russians were going to attack, they were right. Our services rather thought that invading Ukraine would have a monstrous cost and that the Russians had other options,” Burkhard told Le Monde https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/03/06/guerre-en-ukraine-le-rouleau-compresseur-russe-risque-de-finir-par-passer-selon-le-chef-d-etat-major-des-armees_6116336_3210.html.
L’Opinion said Vidaud was told on Tuesday that he would have to leave his post in the summer because of the misses over Ukraine and that he decided to step down immediately.
(Reporting by Sarah Morland; Editing by Ingrid Melander)