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Donald Trump was 'warned by John Bolton last year that Russia was paying bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops and was told again in February in his daily intelligence briefing while the CIA informed foreign governments'

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton told colleagues he briefed Donald Trump on an intelligence assessment that Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan in March 2019, much earlier than previously reported.   
Two officials also said Trump was briefed on the matter yet again in February of this year in the President’s Daily Brief document. One official specifically cited the date as February 27, the New York Times reports.
On Sunday AP also reported that concerns about Russian bounties were included in a written presidential daily briefing earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O'Brien had discussed the matter with Trump. O'Brien denied ever discussing it. 

Bolton told colleagues he had briefed the president on the matter allegedly unfolding in Afghanistan last year. Officials with knowledge of that briefing said it contained no 'actionable intelligence', meaning the intelligence community did not have enough information to form a strategic plan or response. 
However, the classified assessment of Russian bounties was the sole purpose of the meeting.   
Top officials in the White House say they were made aware of the bounty operation in a daily intelligence briefing in early 2019, according to US officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence. But it wasn't considered particularly urgent, given that Russian meddling in Afghanistan is not a new occurrence. 
CIA Director Gina Haspel, who was appointed by Trump in 2018, released a statement Monday saying that in developing intelligence assessments 'preliminary Force Protection information is shared with the national security community - and with US allies,' meaning the assessment would have been shared with foreign governments.
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton claims he briefed Donald Trump on an intelligence assessment that Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan in March 2019, much earlier than previously reported. Bolton pictured July 2019
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton claims he briefed Donald Trump on an intelligence assessment that Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan in March 2019, much earlier than previously reported. Bolton pictured July 2019
Trump and the White House have denied that he was ever made aware of the assessment and no action was taken to stop the bounty operation
Trump and the White House have denied that he was ever made aware of the assessment and no action was taken to stop the bounty operation


But on Sunday the president denied that he was ever made aware of the assessment.
The White House doubled down and said that Trump was never told about the matter and has still not been briefed on it because the operation has not been fully verified. However, it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials. 
Bolton declined to comment Monday when asked if he had briefed Trump about the matter in 2019.
But he suggested on Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press that Trump was claiming ignorance to Russia's provocations to justify his administration's lack of response.  
'He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,' Bolton said.
A description of the assessment that a Russian unit was carrying out the bounties plot was also disseminated on May 4 in an article in the CIA’s World Intelligence Review, a classified document known as The Wire, two officials said. 
CIA Director Haspel said Monday: 'When developing intelligence assessments, initial tactical reports often require additional collection and validation. In general, preliminary Force Protection information is shared throughout the national security community – and with US allies – as a part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of coalition forces overseas.' 
She warned that leaked intel could harm the assessment of the Russia bounty program saying: 'Leaks compromise and disrupt the critical interagency work to collect, assess, and ascribe culpability.
'CIA will continue to pursue every lead; analyze the information we collect with critical, objective eyes; and brief reliable intelligence to protect US forces deployed around the world.' 
CIA Director Gina Haspel released a statement Monday saying that in developing intelligence assessments 'preliminary Force Protection information is shared with the national security community - and with US allies,' meaning the assessment could have been credible enough to warn the president about
CIA Director Gina Haspel released a statement Monday saying that in developing intelligence assessments 'preliminary Force Protection information is shared with the national security community - and with US allies,' meaning the assessment could have been credible enough to warn the president about
The director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe, who was tapped by Trump for the job, also shared a statement Monday saying an investigation into the intelligence assessment is ongoing
The director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe, who was tapped by Trump for the job, also shared a statement Monday saying an investigation into the intelligence assessment is ongoing
'He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,' Bolton said on Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press after Trump denied ever being briefed on the assessment
'He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,' Bolton said on Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press after Trump denied ever being briefed on the assessment
The director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe, who was tapped by Trump for the job, also shared a statement Monday saying an investigation into the intelligence assessment is ongoing. 
'US and coalition force protection is a critical priority for both the President and the intelligence Community. The selective leaking of any classified information disrupts the vital interagency work to collect, assess, and mitigate threats and places our forces at risk. It is also, simply put, a crime,' he said. 
'We are still investigating the alleged intelligence referenced in recent media reporting and we will brief the President and Congressional leaders at the appropriate time. 
'This is the analytic process working the way it should. Unfortunately, unauthorized disclosures now jeopardize our ability to ever find out the full story with respect to these allegations,' he added.
The administration's earlier awareness of the Russian efforts raises additional questions about why Trump did not take any punitive action against Moscow for efforts that put the lives of Americans servicemembers at risk.
Trump has sought throughout his time in office to improve relations with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, moving earlier this year to try to reinstate Russia as part of a group of world leaders it had been kicked out of.
The intelligence that surfaced in early 2019 indicated Russian operatives had become more aggressive in their desire to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2012 during the Obama administration.
The National Security Council and the undersecretary of defense for intelligence did hold meetings regarding the intelligence. The Pentagon declined to comment and the NSC did not respond to questions about the meetings.
Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported. American soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division deploy to fight Taliban fighters as part of Operation Mountain Thrust to a U.S. base near the village of Deh Afghan on June 22, 2006 in Afghanistan
Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported. American soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division deploy to fight Taliban fighters as part of Operation Mountain Thrust to a U.S. base near the village of Deh Afghan on June 22, 2006 in Afghanistan


Concerns about Russian bounties flared anew this year after members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500 thousand in U.S. dollars. 
The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence community that the Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and other linked associations.
The officials told the AP that career government officials developed potential options for the White House to respond to the Russian aggression in Afghanistan, which was first reported by The New York Times. However, the Trump administration has yet to authorize any action.
The intelligence in 2019 and 2020 surrounding Russian bounties was derived in part from debriefings of captured Taliban militants. Officials with knowledge of the matter told the AP that Taliban operatives from opposite ends of the country and from separate tribes offered similar accounts.
The officials would not name the specific groups or give specific locations in Afghanistan or time frames for when they were detained.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denied that Russian intelligence officers had offered payments to the Taliban in exchange for targeting US and coalition forces.
The US is investigating whether any Americans died as a result of the alleged Russian bounties.
Officials said the intelligence community has been investigating the April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three US Marines and wounded three other US service members and an Afghan contractor after a car was rigged with explosives and detonated near their armored vehicles, to see if it could be potentially linked to the Russian bounties. The site of the car bomb above on April 9, 2019
Officials said the intelligence community has been investigating the April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three US Marines and wounded three other US service members and an Afghan contractor after a car was rigged with explosives and detonated near their armored vehicles, to see if it could be potentially linked to the Russian bounties. The site of the car bomb above on April 9, 2019
Officials are focused in particular on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy. Three US Marines were killed after a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armored vehicles as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.
The Marines exchanged gunfire with the vehicle at some point; however, it´s not known if the gunfire occurred before or after the car exploded.
Abdul Raqib Kohistani, the Bagram district police chief, said at the time that at least five Afghan civilians were wounded after the attack on the convoy, according to previous reporting by the AP. It is not known if the civilians were injured by the car bomb or the gunfire from US Marines.
Cpl. Robert Hendriks died in an April 2019 attack at Bagram Air Field days before he was due to return home
Cpl. Robert Hendriks died in an April 2019 attack at Bagram Air Field days before he was due to return home 
The Defense Department identified Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, from Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, from York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, from Locust Valley, New York, as the Marines killed in April 2019. The three Marines were all infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit headquartered out of Garden City, New York.
Hendriks' father told the AP that even a rumor of Russian bounties should have been immediately addressed.
'If this was kind of swept under the carpet as to not make it a bigger issue with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled when they knew this, I lost all respect for this administration and everything,' Erik Hendriks said.
Marine Major Roger Hollenbeck said at the time that the reserve unit was a part of the Georgia Deployment Program-Resolute Support Mission, a reoccurring, six-month rotation between U.S. Marines and Georgian Armed Forces. The unit first deployed to Afghanistan in October 2018.
Three other service members and an Afghan contractor were also wounded in the attack. As of April 2019, the attack was under a separate investigation, unrelated to the Russian bounties, to determine how it unfolded.
The officials who spoke to the AP also said they were looking closely at insider attacks - sometimes called "green-on-blue" incidents - from 2019 to determine if they are also linked to Russian bounties.

2 comments:

  1. first of all there is absolutely no proof that russia is paying any bounties to the taliban for killing US soldiers, and secondly, the taliban probably kills US soldiers free of charge. if there were invaders in my neighborhood i would certainly kill them every chance that i got.

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  2. So if it's down to everyone but Bolton saying that the reports weren't credible and never made it into a briefing versus lying, arrogant mad man Bolton? Who ya gonna believe?

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