During the 20th century Cold War we Cold Warriors heard every word, every intonation of what the Soviets said. To risk nuclear war because some fool had wax in his ears or was feeling macho that day was out of the question. In those days there were departments of Russian studies in US universities that were not dependent on funding from the military-security complex. There was public debate. There was always an independent expert, such as Stephen Cohen, to remind everyone of how the Russians saw the situation.
Today independent scholarship has disappeared. Russian studies programs in universities are Russophobic in keeping with their funding. As there are no objective scholars, there are no knowledgeable people in the US intelligence community. We can see this in the recent statement of Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan, who reports that US intelligence agencies believe that Putin is “giving serious consideration” to an invasion of Ukraine.