Months after The New York Times reported that Russia secretly offered bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan, a top US commander says a detailed review of all available intelligence found no corroboration of the story.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of US CENTCOM, spoke with NBC News about the matter. “It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me,” McKenzie said. “We continue to look for that evidence. I just haven’t seen it yet.”
An unnamed military intelligence official also told NBC News that after reviewing the intelligence of attacks on US forces in Afghanistan over the past several years, none had been linked to any Russian bounty payments.
McKenzie’s comments reflect statements made by other top military officials shortly after the Times story broke. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper took the position that the Pentagon did not have “corroborating evidence” to support the Times report back in June.
In a hearing in front of the House Armed Services Committee in July, Esper said all the defense intelligence agencies have been “unable to corroborate this report.” In that same hearing, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley took the same position. Both Milley and McKenzie vowed to keep investigating the intelligence, and now, two months later, there is still no evidence to back up the claims.
Other intelligence agencies have strongly dissented from the claim that Russia was paying bounties to the Taliban, most notably the National Security Agency (NSA). The National Intelligence Council produced a memo in July that showed the NSA only gave “low” confidence to the Russian bounty intelligence.
Intelligence agencies use confidence levels to reflect the scope and quality of the intelligence they are assessing. There are three confidence levels, “high,” “moderate,” and “low.” The same memo that said the NSA gave the bounty intelligence “low” confidence also revealed the CIA gave it “moderate” confidence, which still leaves plenty of room for doubt.
9 thoughts on “US Commander: Intel Still Hasn’t Corroborated Russia Bounty Story”
I doubted this from the start. Since when does the Taliban need bounties to kill anyone, let alone U.S. soldiers?
why would any civilized patriot require a bounty to kill an amerikan—self uglified, despised everywhere
The CIA also had moderate confidence in the Contras and the Mujahedeen.
And a high level of confidence that Iraq had WMD. Whatever happened to the intelligence agencies analysts that made that determination?
Oh yeah. They had a high level confidence they were going to be promoted!
doesnt matter that the US funded Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to Kill Russian Soldiers even gave Stinger Missiles to Bin Ladin to do it!
What the the ought to be looking into is who started the lie and why.
Intelligence agencies are clearly a greater liability than useful asset in a country completely polarized. In any country butt even more obviously so in our current country.
As soon as one lie is debunked, they fabricade a new one.
Now they cook up a story about Iran plotting an alleged assassination against US Ambassador to South Africa.
When Pompeo is asked, he can`t disclose intelligence information, but P0TUS jumps right on it and threatens Iran with an attack that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!
More RUSSIAN TROLLS…that’s all..
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