Congressional leaders have demanded answers, and those answers have come in the form of multiple US intelligence agencies and chiefs essentially throwing cold water on the NY Times Russian bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan story, as we’ve detailed.
We expect this “bombshell” will be very short-lived, perhaps being memory holed by the weekend, akin to the fate of other Russiagate-related ‘anonymous sources say’ type stories.
The Pentagon is the latest to say that DOD-wide there is currently “no corroborating evidence at this time to validate the recent allegations regarding malight activity by Russian personnel against US forces in Afghanistan,” according to a late Tuesday evening statement by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
And yet the Times is busy publishing photos of slain Marines to help bolster what’s increasingly looking like a propaganda hit piece ahead of the November election, for which there’s already been considerable backlash from the public.
As of Wednesday it’s been revealed that a highly respected career intelligence officer previously made the decision to not brief President Trump on what the Washington Post now belatedly admits was widely “deemed sketchy” information the CIA had obtained in 2019 through either a foreign source or report.
This line from the Post is certainly awkward for them and the Times:
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that White House officials were first informed in early 2019 of intelligence reports that Russia was offering the bounties to kill U.S. and coalition military personnel, but the information was deemed sketchy and in need of additional confirmation, according to people familiar with the matter.
National security adviser Robert O’Brien said in a Wednesday FOX interview, reported by WaPo that it’s “another false story.”
“The president was not briefed because at the time of these allegations they were uncorroborated,” he said. “As a result, the president’s career CIA briefer decided not to brief him because it was unverified intelligence, and by the way, she’s an outstanding officer, and knowing all the facts I know, I certainly support her decision.”