Amidst explosive revelations about alleged Russian bounty on US soldiers in Afghanistan, a dispute has arisen over how much US President Donald Trump knew. National security advisor Robert O’Brien denied media reports on Tuesday night that Trump had been informed of the danger. Because these allegations were not “verified or substantiated by intelligence agencies,” President Trump had not been informed of the issues, “he said. However, the staff of the National Security Council, among other things, “prepared for it if the situation justified measures”.
Russians are said to have promised Islamists money for attacks on US positions
Several US newspapers had cited intelligence reports that Russian agents have promised Taliban militant Islamists money to attack US positions. The rewards were promised for killing foreign soldiers, including British. The media also reported, citing anonymous sources, that Trump had been informed of the danger. The “New York Times” added late Monday evening: Trump had received a written briefing in late February. How much the President knew is relevant because the U.S. government’s actions against Moscow are unknown.
A few weeks ago, Trump even expressed the idea of inviting Russia to the upcoming G7 summit in the United States. Critics have been accusing the US President of taking a far too reserved and even courteous line towards Russia for years. O’Brien affirmed that Trump’s priority was on the security of American troops. He threatened government officials who ransacked information to the press: their conduct was endangering national security.
Pentagon “continues to evaluate reports”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that so far there have been no “confirming indications” for the knowledge that has come to light. They continue to evaluate the reports. The US House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, spoke on Monday with Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe and CIA chief Gina Haspel, calling for further clarification of the “disturbing” reports. The deputies should be informed directly of the knowledge.
According to further reports, the Russian bounty could actually have resulted in the death of US soldiers in Afghanistan: Among other things, an automobile bomb attack in April 2019, in which three marines were killed, is being investigated. According to the Washington Post, the CIA had investigated and “confirmed” information about the Russian bounty. A reaction of the US government and measures against Russia are not known, although internal discussions about how to proceed.
Democrats want intelligence agencies to assess them
Following a briefing in the White House on Tuesday, Democratic congressmen made it clear that they would have preferred to be taught by CIA or NSA officials. They would also like to know how credible they think the information is, said House Democratic majority leader Steny Hoyer. The deputies had not learned anything substantially new. Republicans had already been informed by the White House on Monday and had subsequently recommended “strong, swift and serious measures” against Russia should the allegations prove to be true.
The Kremlin described the media reports as a “lie”. The “largest, revered and high-class mass media in the world have not stopped broadcasting absolute” ducks “for years,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskow of the agency Interfax.