Published 6:15 PM EDT Jun 29, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged Russian operatives secretly offered cash payments to Taliban-linked militants to homicide coalition troops, including People, in Afghanistan, in step with multiple news media reviews.
The Novel York Instances, which first reported the story Friday, acknowledged a unit of Russia’s protection power intelligence agency – the GRU, identified for orchestrating assassinations and destabilization efforts in opposition to Western democracies – became as soon as within the again of the bounties on U.S. troops.
Russia and the Taliban denied the reviews, and President Donald Trump acknowledged he didn’t know referring to the reported bounties.
Here is what we know:
Interrogations of militants and criminals in Afghanistan were the premise for the U.S. intelligence review that Russia offered cash for a hit attacks on coalition troops final one year, in step with the Instances.
The Associated Press reported that suspicions about Russia deepened when contributors of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Team, identified to the final public as SEAL Team 6, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000 in early 2020.
Some U.S. officials accept as true with long accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of performing in opposition to American pursuits in Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union conducted a bloody and pricey struggle within the 1980s.
In March 2018, Gen. John Nicholson – who became as soon as then the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan nonetheless has since retired – suggested the BBC Russia equipped the Taliban with palms. Russia and the Taliban denied the allegation.
Did the bounties consequence in attacks?
Unnamed intelligence officials suggested the AP they’re investigating attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2019 to sight whether there’s any evidence connecting them to the Russian bounties. Incidents whereby Afghan security forces killed coalition troops – identified as “green on blue” attacks – are a particular focus of the inquiry.
An assault on a convoy whereby three U.S. Marines were killed in April 2019 is being carefully looked at, the AP reported.
The Washington Put up reported that U.S. interrogations of captured militants indicated the bounties “resulted within the deaths of several U.S. provider contributors.” Overall in 2019, 17 U.S. provider contributors died in hostilities in Afghanistan, in step with the Division of Protection.
Trump denies knowledge
The Instances and AP reported that Trump became as soon as briefed on the intelligence review. Per the Instances, the briefing took space in gradual March.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe acknowledged in a assertion Saturday that he had “confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the Novel York Instances in its reporting.”
On Twitter, Trump insisted he didn’t know referring to the reported bounty and attacked the Instances for the story.
“No person briefed or suggested me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Crew @MarkMeadows referring to the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported thru an ‘anonymous offer’ by the Counterfeit News @nytimes,” Trump acknowledged Sunday morning.
“No person’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump administration,” he acknowledged in one other tweet.
Sunday night, Trump acknowledged he had “appropriate” been suggested by intelligence officials that they didn’t derive the review “credible” and had decided now not to transient him or Vice President Mike Pence on the matter. He speculated that the Instances printed the story “to invent Republicans explore injurious!!!”
White Home press secretary Kayleigh McEnany acknowledged at a White Home news briefing Monday that the intelligence became as soon as now not shared with Trump as a consequence of it had now not been “verified.”
“There could be no such thing as a consensus all the intention in which thru the intelligence group on these allegations,” McEnany acknowledged, adding there were “dissenting opinions” on the intelligence review.
The Instances defended its reporting.
“We stand by our story, the critical parts of which accept as true with now not been denied by the President’s dangle National Security agencies,” spokeswoman Eileen Murphy acknowledged.
Trump: President denies entertaining about intelligence story that Russia put bounty on US troops
Lawmakers query solutions
Republicans and Democrats reacted to the news reviews with calls for that the White Home transient lawmakers on the intelligence review and the Trump administration’s response.
Assemble. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., acknowledged Sunday the White Home needed to level to why Trump and Pence weren’t briefed on the review and whether it became as soon as integrated within the president’s everyday intelligence briefing.
“Who did know and when?” Cheney tweeted. “What has been done in step with guard our forces & wait on Putin guilty?”
“We’ve identified for a really very long time that Putin is a thug and a assassin, and if the allegations reported within the Novel York Instances are appropriate, I will work with President Trump on a stable response,” tweeted Senate Armed Companies and products Committee Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla. “Moral now, although, we need solutions. I even accept as true with requested the administration to portion what it knows, and I seek data from to know extra within the arriving days.”
Monday, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel soliciting for an interagency briefing for all Home contributors on the reported Russian bounty on U.S. troops.
“The questions that arise are: became as soon as the President briefed, and if now not, why now not, and why became as soon as Congress now not briefed,” Pelosi wrote. “Congress and the country need solutions now.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for an “rapid briefing from the Directors of National Intelligence and the CIA for all 100 Senators on reviews that Russia placed bounties on US Troops in Afghanistan.”
“We furthermore must know whether or now not President Trump became as soon as suggested this data, and if that is so, when,” Schumer acknowledged.
Senate Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., acknowledged in a assertion that he has “long warned about Russia’s efforts to undermine U.S. pursuits within the Center East from Syria to Afghanistan.”
“The united states needs to prioritize protection belongings, wait on a sufficient regional protection power presence, and proceed to impose severe consequences on people that threaten us and our allies – love our strikes in Syria and Afghanistan in opposition to ISIS, the Taliban, and Russian mercenary forces that threatened our partners,” McConnell acknowledged.
McEnany acknowledged a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers became as soon as briefed on the matter on the White Home Monday.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden seized on the reviews, which he called “gorgeous,” to assault the president.
“The commander in chief of American troops, serving within the harmful theater of struggle, has identified about this for months, in step with the Instances, and done worse than nothing,” Biden acknowledged Saturday all the intention in which thru a digital metropolis hall hosted by the group Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote. “Not simplest has he didn’t sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international laws, Donald Trump has persisted his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself sooner than Vladimir Putin.”
Biden acknowledged Trump’s total presidency “has been a reward” to Putin, “nonetheless that is beyond the pale.”
In response, Trump acknowledged, “Russia ate his and Obama’s lunch all the intention in which thru their time in office.”
“U.S. became as soon as outmoded on every part, nonetheless in particular Russia!” Trump acknowledged of the Obama period.
Contributing: Michael Collins and David Jackson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
Pelosi: ‘I do not know what the Russians accept as true with on the president’