The Associated Press has added fresh speculation to an unconfirmed report alleging Russia offered bounties on US troops. Citing unnamed sources, the outlet claims the White House knew about the plot last year.
Senior officials in the Trump administration were purportedly made aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence suggesting that Moscow was soliciting cash rewards to the Taliban for killing American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. The allegation, which AP says comes from “US officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence,” means that the White House would have known about the dubiously sourced plot a full year earlier than previously reported.
Unfortunately for AP, even the president’s most ardent critics have declined to publicly corroborate their claim. John Bolton, who was serving as national security advisor at the time, declined to comment on whether he had briefed the president on the matter in March 2019. Undeterred, AP still reported that Bolton told colleagues that he had informed Trump about the bounties – citing unnamed sources.
The New York Times, referring to its own anonymous officials, claimed last week that Trump had known about the “bounties” for foreign troops since at least March of this year. The US president has denied that he was ever briefed on the matter accusing the “Fake News NYT” of peddling “another fabricated Russia Hoax.”
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that there was “no consensus within the intelligence community” that the allegation had merit, and therefore the information was never brought to Trump’s attention.
The Pentagon disclosed that it was “evaluating” the claims but so far has found “no corroborating evidence to validate” the sensational media reports. For its part, Russia has dismissed the unverified story as nonsense, pointing out that the allegation coincides with Trump’s move to withdraw US forces from the 19-year occupation of Afghanistan.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!