Yeah, this story lasted about five minutes. As the left-wing engages in a coordinated and wide-ranging campaign on things they find problematic, especially when it comes to American history, the liberal media decided to show once again that they fall for anything relating to Russia. After two-plus years of peddling the Trump-Russia collusion myth, they decided to get another one going regarding the Taliban being paid by some super-secret Russian intelligence unit to kill Americans. It’s bounty gate: Afghanistan edition…except that it’s fake news trash.
After the media’s appalling failure on the collusion nonsense, in which they never seemed to get why all their “bombshells” ended up as nothingburgers and no direct evidence was ever dredged up, it’s safe to give these stories time to settle. And when they do, it’s pretty much always torched. Two things are clear. One is that the anti-Trump deep state is real, despite some folks’ disbelief. Second, the liberal media, to no one’s surprise, has yet to learn that anything Trump-Russia related is probably false. And you bet this story was weaponized to attack the president because this was all in a brief that was sent to him or something, right? Here’s the initial story (via WSJ):
A Russian spy unit paid members of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement to conduct lethal attacks on U.S. troops in that country, according to a classified American intelligence assessment, people familiar with the report said.
The assessment of the role played by Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, in fostering attacks on American soldiers, comes as President Trump is pushing the Pentagon to withdraw a significant portion of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and as U.S. diplomats try to forge a peace accord involving the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government.
The intelligence assessment regarding Russia’s actions in Afghanistan was delivered to the White House earlier this spring, and until recently had been known only to a handful of officials, a person familiar with it said. Its contents were reported earlier Friday by the New York Times
It couldn’t be determined whether Russian bounties paid to Taliban fighters resulted in any American combat deaths in Afghanistan.
The White House, without confirming the existence of the U.S. intelligence assessment, said President Trump has never been briefed on the Russian bounty payments, responding to Democratic and Republican critics who charged that Mr. Trump knew of the activity and should have halted it.
Well, as it turns out the president was never briefed. Why? Well, as CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, formerly of Fox News, pointed out, “An intelligence official with direct knowledge tells CBS News there was an intel collection report and "NSA assesses Report does not match well established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices" + "lack sufficient reporting to corroborate any links.”
Oh, it gets better. She added, “The official said the intelligence collection report reached ‘low levels’ NSC but did not go further, not briefed POTUS, or VP because it was deemed ‘uncorroborated’ and ‘dissent intelligence community.’"
As Leah noted, Trump rightfully slapped down this story as another shoddy hit job. Beth noted The New York Times’s so-called anonymous sources offered no details about this alleged operation between this Russian intelligence unit and the Taliban. Oh, and you know skepticism should be a default position on a story like this when everyone agrees that it’s ridiculous. All the parties involved in this disaster of a story says none of it is true and this is what happens when some low-level clown in the intelligence community thinks they have something and don’t, which is then turned into a firestorm because out anti-Trump opposition press is too stupid to know that classified information can also be totally wrong. They’re not mutually exclusive. Liberal reporter Michael Tracey, a die-hard Trump-Russia collusion skeptic, also trashed the story, while noting that this was probably done to blunt our departure from the country after being there for 19 years.
I’ll let you debate that point. For now, it’s quite clear: this Taliban bounty gate story is a nothing burger.