On June 29th, CIA Director Gina Haspel released a statement regarding reports that Russia offered bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan.
“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 U.S. allies—as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of coalition forces overseas. Leaks compromise and disrupt the critical interagency work to collect, assess, and ascribe culpability.
Hostile states’ use of proxies in war zones to inflict damage on U.S. interests and troops is a constant, longstanding concern. CIA will continue to pursue every lead; analyze the information we collect with critical, objective eyes; and brief reliable intelligence to protect U.S. forces deployed around the world.”
The statement doesn’t specifically deny any of the allegations that the New York Times began, but rather plays into it, since it simply says that the CIA looks into all possible scenarios, investigates them and notifies the relevant officials, if necessary.
Following the denial by the White House and US President Donald Trump that there was no knowledge of any such bounties, MSM continued publishing reports saying that the Trump administration had been aware for more than a year.
“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, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.”
Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has been in the limelight with his book on Trump in June 2020, denied to provide any comment on the matter. On June 28th, he suggested to NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump was claiming ignorance of Russia’s provocations to justify his administration’s lack of a response.
“He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,” Bolton said.
He didn’t need to say more, since this, also, feeds into the new angle of the narrative that US President Donald Trump is a sort of “Russian Agent.”
A concrete denial that there was any prior knowledge came from US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe:
“I have confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday. The White House statement addressing this issue earlier today, which denied such a briefing occurred, was accurate. The New York Times reporting, and all other subsequent news reports about such an alleged briefing are inaccurate.”
In another statement by Ratcliffe, he focused on the unauthorized disclosure of force protection. He underlined that protection of forces activities are a critical priority for both the US President and Intelligence community. The reports were being looked into further.
DNI Ratcliffe issues statement on impact of unauthorized disclosures on force protection pic.twitter.com/Pr7PbWk443
— Office of the DNI (@ODNIgov) June 30, 2020
And it is understandable that the intelligence community needs to look into them, but he denied that the Trump administration had any knowledge on the matter, likely because there was nothing to know.
MORE ON THE TOPIC: