The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the National Security Agency “strongly dissented from other intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia paid bounties for the killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan.”
The Journal cites “people familiar with the matter” and does not give much detail, but the story is noteworthy, as the NSA has dissented from other agencies in the past over allegations against Russia. A January 2017 intelligence assessment that concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 election on President Trump’s behalf was given “high confidence” by the CIA and FBI while the NSA gave “moderate confidence.”
Another account of the NSA not giving much weight to this intelligence was given to CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge on Monday. An unnamed intelligence official told Herridge that the NSA deemed a report on the Russian bounties “uncorroborated.” The official said the report “does not match well-established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices” and lacks “sufficient reporting to corroborate any links.”
The CIA is used as an example in the Journal’s report of an agency the NSA allegedly disagreed with over the intelligence. So far, the CIA has declined to comment on the issue besides a vague statement from CIA Director Gina Haspel. “When developing intelligence assessments, initial tactical reports often require additional collection and validation … Leaks compromise and disrupt the critical interagency work to collect, assess, and ascribe culpability,” Haspel said.
The Journal’s disclosure reinforces the Trump administration’s claim that the intelligence was not strong enough, and there was no consensus among intelligence officials on the information. The Pentagon said on Monday it has not seen “corroborating evidence” to support The New York Times report that alleged Russian GRU agents offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill US troops.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reiterated the Pentagon’s claims in a statement on Tuesday. “Although the Department of Defense has no corroborating evidence at this time to validate recent allegations regarding malign activity by Russian personnel against US forces in Afghanistan, I want to assure all of our service members that the Department takes very seriously any and all potential threats against US military personnel,” Esper said.
Even though the intelligence remains unconfirmed, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are brainstorming ways to punish Moscow over the allegations. Suggestions include imposing new sanctions on Russia and even designating Moscow as a state sponsor of terrorism. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) said he wants to see a plan that will put “Taliban and GRU agents in body bags.”
31 thoughts on “NSA Dissents From Other Agencies Over Russian Bounty Intel”
Awesome. Well, Sen Sasse is certainly not Putin’s stooge, amirite?
Are the good people of Nebraska really supportive of (1) more endless wars in the middle east and, more importantly (2) confrontation with Russia near its home turf? May one ask why?
Oh shocker, if it was true. We funded and armed the so-called “freedom fighters” against the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan, so what would be the difference?
We need a plan to put Ben Sasse in a straightjacket.
Reasoning: if someone reminds us how much we hate Russia then we must respond to the allegation as if it is true. Uh … yeah that’s quite insane. All that I need to hear is a Christian give the ‘Trump is a modern day Cyrus’ speech and I will completely lose my mind.
There are so many reasons to criticize Trump, they are beyond counting.
Yet, “He is not warlike enough” is not one of them.
That is what the Biden forces are offering. They’ll be more warlike.
Hasn’t it been instructive that Trump’s one unforgivable sin, the “error” he has been most effectively and consistently challenged on, has been his occasional and erratic impulses towards a retrenchment foreign policy?
Yet he has not retrenched — not at all. Circling around Syria and Iraq in hyena like manner with Israel bombing here and there is not retrenching. Doing it just because it would a disaster to allow peace to take hold in Syria or Iraq. Pulling troops out of Afghanistan — but not quite, and will go back to Afghanistan no matter who has been elected.
And ratcheting up tensions with Iran — not helpful. And with China — a bit insane.
The reason Trump is PERSONA NON GRATA to universalists/globalists is his rejection of identity, and nationality erasing credos. He rejects the idea that states do not count, that accumulated experience of generations does not count — and should be abolished in favor of a privatized world of services for pay, or bribe more likely. But he is late — from Congress to Pentagon privileged private interests make all the decisions.
But what is he FOR? Saint Trump he is not. He is for US-based empire, directed from US and in US interests. Thus allies better pay up — or else. Else what? They are not in danger, so why would they go grumpily along?Because by being with US — they may get a share of the global booty. Otherwise, they are out. Thus — begrudging payment of insurance policy.
Trump has a thoroughly pagan ethics. Mantra is — good is what brings me wealth and pleasure. Evil is opposite of that.
Globalist nirvana of life at pleasure of private interest, devoid of memory of belonging — finds the biggest enemy in Russia. Take down Russia — and China will just stand buy, and after that be very cooperative and OPEN to our desires.
Trump’s idea of prevailing is by knocking down China to not be any more scientific and technological enemy, to build up US critical technological base before tackling Russia.
The two camps differ in social, cultural and historic approach to empire, and even in the methods of building an empire, but it is really a HUGE DISTINCTION without ANY DIFFERENCE in the END.
Well said Bianca. Rather than building sustainable economy in the US, trumps meaning of america first, is to leverage other nations to pay the US more, tho, for what, is unclear, or is just nonsense.
Why would any Taliban need anything to encourage them to kill the illegal invaders of their country? Just more BS to provoke war with Russia…as the third coup attempt crumbles into dust.
Closer to home US soldiers are murdered probably by Americans. Two cases are under investigation here in Texas: Vanessa Guillen and Gregory Wedel-Morales.
The investigators have stated that they are convinced that foul play happened in both cases.
Too “normal” for antiwar to write about?
Back in 2016, former Bush administration National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley publically advocated as chairman of the government-funded Institute for Peace, sending weapons to Ukraine for the expressed purpose of sending more Russians home in body bags.
Why not? After all, “War is peace.”
I have a hard time believing that the Taliban needs to be paid bounties for kill American soldiers. Anyone, for that matter. The story is a good way to scuttle any peace deal with the Taliban.
“The story is a good way to scuttle any peace deal with the Taliban,” and that is exactly who purported to “leak” it.
Worse, Democrats jumped on it on those terms. More war. That is Rice’s op-ed on it.
Remember ***CIA*** “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella, the Clinton/Dem loyalist, who in league with Lt Col Pudge, took their anti-Trump attitude to Adam Schiff in an effort to take down Trump with the Ukraine-gate baloney. Remember former CIA head Brennan with his anti-Trump brain fever, who heard Trump say we should get along with Russia, and sicced his five eyes buddies on Trump almost before his campaign began. Remember that ***EVERYONE*** except the Deplorables laughed at Trump right up to election night, and then butt-hurt and PTSD’d, joined Brennan in his “Russia! Russia! Russia!” witch hunt.
Welcome to the twitching corpse of Empire.
Well said, how soon we forget these players, during the unending crises.
Clearly, Afghan people will never fight foreign invaders unless someone pays them a bounty to do it. After all their history proves they’ve never fought foreign invaders before!
By me. Share if you feel like it.
The clowns have entered the circus ring.
House Speaker Pelosi Calls For ‘Immediate’ Sanctions on Russia Over ‘Taliban Bounties’ Reports
New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez introduced a bill on new sanctions against Russia for allegedly conspiring with the radical Taliban movement (banned in Russia).
Calling her a clown disrespects clowns
I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 because he said war is OK if you take their oil, expressed support for torture and said the innocent families of terrorist should be punished (colletive punishment). He has not renounced any of those positions.
On the other hand, I fear the Democrats have made it clear they will introduce a totally dystopian regime reigned by personality and political connections where laws and traditional norms will be ignored and the first ten amendments de facto repealed. They are thus a far more dangerous threat than a 2nd term for Trump. I voted for Jill Stein in 2016, but the Democrats have since doubled down on evil. I’m not sure how I’ll vote in November, but I’m sure I won’t be voting Democrat.
It looked like we would have a Washington inside Democrat running against the Republican incumbent for Congress, but the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party had statewide ballot access and no candidate, so I’ve registered to run for Congress on that ticket just so voters of our district can choose a candidate who is not sold out to Deep State interests.
Jes someone trying a little swiftboating on the gop. Normally the righties get all hot and bothered over this sort of thing if it targets dems. 60% of trump voters still think Obama is Muslim.
Well, if the dems want to ape the gop, they may as well run George Clooney. He is easier to look at than trump, speaks in complete sentences, dresses better, has an actual sense of humor, and knows as much about governance.
If one casts their mind back to the Reagan Years, one can remember that the US funded a little Group to kill Russian Troops in Afghanistan, they supplied them Stinger missiles to shoot down Helicopters. That Groups leader was Osama Bin Ladin, they were called Al Qaeda, and their partners were the Mujahideen AKA the Taliban! Just think if this actually did happen it was something the US did to the Russians first!
Yes, Al Qaeda whose calling card in NYC was labelled “Blowback.”
Interesting that The NY Times is pushing this story but not surprising as they have six or seven new anti Trump pieces each and every day. Journalists have entirely stopped being journalists and are now activists and advocates.
Great reporting, Dave!
One sign is that those severely afflicted by Trump Derangement Syndrome jumped on you right away. What a lousy job they have. But at least the pay is good.
This is basically a very soft plea, designed to mollify radicals, for Biden as “probably” a lesser evil. Here is a quote:
“That (the poor people’s campaign) is certainly not a call Trump would listen to, but would Joe Biden be more receptive to public calls for peace and disarmament than Obama and Trump?
Probably not, ….”
“ We will not rescue our country from the iron grip of the military-industrial complex by picking the lesser evil and hoping for the best.
“On the other hand, a civil society coalition, led by the Poor People’s Campaign and including CODEPINK, is calling for a $350 billion cut in the military budget to fund human needs and public services, and representatives Barbara Lee, Pramila Jayapal, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have introduced a resolution in Congress to do just that.
“At the margins, this campaign could have more impact on Biden than on Trump, but not if people sweep up the bunting on election night and think their job is done, as liberals did with Obama and antiwar conservatives did with Trump.”
“COULD have more impact?”
Bottom line: Vote Biden AND continue the same fruitless kind of politics that have been practiced for decades. Let’s do both, gang, since that tactic has failed miserably every time. Superb strategy and it avoids any claim to be evidence based. There is zero evidence that voting lesser evil works or that Biden is in the least inclined to be a peace maker. His hallmark is going after Russia. And he backed the Pivot.
They “forget” that there have been no new wars under Trump – and there have been attempts to make peace with Russia and North Korea. Bush gave us two wars and Obama gave us five more; Trump gave us zero.
To be clear:
Bush -2 wars
Who is the lesser evil anyway?
This scorecard is VERY simple – and an “analysis” that fails to take that scorecard into account or so much as mention it is way off the mark. This article runs with the liberal herd which has not had a new thought in decades – and the results show it.
AND right now Taliban-gate is being ginned up intensely to prevent Trump from leaving Afghanistan just as Bolton destroyed the opening to North Korea.
There is much to despise Trump for – BUT part of his America First platform was clearly meant to disengage the US from foreign wars. This article makes no attempt to look that fact squarely in the eye and ask why Trump failed. For progressives, there can only be one answer. Trump must have been lying, because …well because he is Trump. That is answer enough in the progressive mind.
The greatest thing to criticize Trump for is his failure to achieve that objective. Let us hope that at least he gets us out of Afghanistan before he is driven from office. Personally I doubt he can do it. Deep State is in no mood for that. Recall what happened months ago when Trump tried to meet with Taliban leaders at Camp David. The roof fell in; he was violating the sacred space of Camp David by inviting the Taliban. “Sacred space” that was actually said in the NYT or a similar piece of fish wrap.
When Biden comes in, we will see hostilities to Russia and Syria etc ramped up. And it will be back to the Pivot. Those are campaign promises he will keep. So it is hard to see how he is marginally better on the issue of war and Empire.
It is sad to see this coming from Code Pink which is about the best the “progressive” antiwar movement has to offer. I suppose we are all entitled to a bad day. Even Homer nods.
There is going to be a regime change in NSA.
This story will not die. The Death Star has become operational.
Election insanity in an insane year, with COVID-19 cases shooting up and away, But neither party wants to talk about that.
Russia to the rescue!
Dr. Fauci adjusting his message.
Mr. President, case numbers are rising.
Then just do less testing.
But what if it rises despite reduced testing?
The just reduce testing some more!
Why did not I think of that!
Seems the NSA is less politically driven than the CIA
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