The Pentagon denies the Russian bounty story

Statement by Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs on Intelligence That Russian GRU Operatives Were Engaged in Malign Activity Against the U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan

DOD Statement attributable to Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman:

"The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU operatives were engaged in malign activity against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports. Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats."

Nevertheless we are still seeing articles stating that this absolutely happened. Who has been asked about it? John F Bolton of all people.

White House Was Aware Of Russian Bounties In Early 2019: Report

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.

The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump was not — and still has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have 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 by the AP if he had briefed Trump about the matter in 2019. On Sunday, 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

Wait what? Didn't Bolton say that he briefed Trump about it in March 2019, but then he gives Trump cover by saying that if no one told him then of course he can deny it? How does that make sense? Maybe it's just me. But if this news was actually confirmed in March 2019 then why did Bolton or anyone else not bring it to the country's attention? I would think Bolton would have made an issue out of that as well as members of congress on the the Senate and House Armed Services Committees who are now demanding that they want answers to why this wasn't addressed and why Russia wasn't spanked for doing it. (The Washington Post reported Sunday that it is believed some of the bounties did result in the deaths of Americans.)

The revelations cast new doubt on the White House’s efforts to distance Trump from the Russian intelligence assessments. The AP reported Sunday that concerns about Russian bounties were also included in a second written presidential daily briefing earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump. O’Brien denies he did so.

Russia has denied that happened.
The Taliban has denied that happened.
The pentagon has denied that happened.
The NSA adviser has denied that happened.

Phewy we are going to say that it definitely did happen:

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 service members 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.

Officials said they did not consider the intelligence assessments in 2019 to be particularly urgent, given that Russian meddling in Afghanistan is not a new occurrence. The officials with knowledge of Bolton’s apparent briefing for Trump 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.

Just like the Intelligence community report of January 6, 2017 there is no there there to this story. WE BELIEVE or have HIGH CONFIDENCE that Russia interfered with the election is not proof that Russia INTERFERED WITH THE ELECTION. It someone's opinion that Russia INTERFERED WITH THE ELECTION.
'
And as usual:

The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the highly sensitive information.

So what was the damning evidence that Russia was offering a bounty on US troop's lives?

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 intelligence in 2019 and 2020 surrounding Russian bounties was derived in part from debriefings of captured Talbian 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.

When did we decide that killing the troops that invaded your country was murder? Or why should they be labeled insurgents or terrorists if they are defending their country? Would we just lay over and do nothing if a foreign country invaded the US or would we fight to expel them? Would we consider ourselves terrorists or insurgents if we fought back? Somehow I highly doubt that.

This story is getting more traction and people are forgetting that they once said, IF THIS IS TRUE then..........

If people want Trump to protect the troops in Afghanistan they get behind the peace talks that are trying to end the longest damn war this country has embarked on.

And hoo-boy wouldn't it have been nice if the media and the Never Trumpers had given as much attention to the confirmed story of the Afghan War Papers that showed how 3 administrations and the military had lied to the country about how the war was going and if it was even winnable.

Families of the soldiers who have died have to deal with enough grief and shouldn't be subjected to this false story just so people can make Trump look like he doesn't care about them. Good grief will this shit ever get exposed for what it is? I can only hope Durham and Barr will expose how this was all made up and people finally see how they have been duped and want people held accountable for what they put this country through. I am not holding out much hope, but I do have a thin wafer size hope that they will.

HerHeinous weighs in:

I do not know if the reports of deaths are true, but I do know that many people did see the Hillary emails on Weiner's laptop and were sickened by their content. This is the information that Comey sat on for over a month before the NYC FBI office threatened to go public about if he did not inform congress of them. This is why he wrote that letter 11 days before the election. Hillbots blame Comey for informing congress, but had no concerns that her emails were found on Weiner's laptop or what they were about. Typical.

Share
up
21 users have voted.

Comments

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

I tried to torpedo peace talks with the Taliban by selling Trump on a manufactured intelligence report created by my Deep State 'colleagues'.

up
16 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

@Not Henry Kissinger

up
2 users have voted.

Nothing about Pentagon statement in WaPo or NYtimes. Nothing on CNN period. The major outlets and democratic party will push this through the election and beyond.

up
14 users have voted.
Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@MrWebster

link to my bookmarks.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for some squirmy retraction.

up
6 users have voted.

The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

edg's picture

Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm, finance, train and support the mujaheddin in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. This resulted in the death of nearly 15,000 Russian soldiers.

up
14 users have voted.

@edg
That's what it was intended to do. Everyone knew that. There was no secret.

up
1 user has voted.

We are so screwed.

edg's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

We can openly kill 15,000 of theirs with impunity, but if there's even a whiff of a rumor that they may have paid "insurgents" to possibly kill a handful of ours, we'll put sanctions and other punishments on them.

It's great being the bully while you can. I guess.

up
6 users have voted.

@edg @edg
There is a difference between war and assassination. When we gave missiles to the Taliban to shoot down Russian helicopters, that was war. Paying a bounty to kill specific Russians would be assassination.
A known acknowledged assassination by the USA was hunting down and specifically targeting Yamamoto.
Acknowledged and bragged about. Hiroshima, even though it killed thousands of (10,000?) civilians was war, not assassination, although opinions differ.

I recognize that many of my friends here hold different opinions.

Assassination is murder. war is not murder, although there is a fine line and honest people differ.

EDIT: I don't want anyone to think I believe the bounty bull-hockey. The above is a discussion of the hypothetical.

up
1 user has voted.

We are so screwed.

edg's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Just ask Qasem Soleimani

up
2 users have voted.

@edg @edg
The US should not engage in assassination, but Obama bragged about it.

up
0 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

To this day, we use "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," as an emblem for political manipulation couched in the form of "intelligence." It turned out that there were no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons under the control of Saddam Hussein and his government. So, we are correct when we remind people that "intelligence" is not necessarily accurate and is often just a pack of lies.

Left unexamined is the premise behind the assertion of WMDs in Iraq -- that if there were WMDs, the USA must therefore invade the country. That is insane, and it remains the infinitely elastic rationale for war against any country that the national security "community" deems unacceptable. Iran is the most obvious example of this now generally accepted idea across the alleged "spectrum" of American politics -- "we" cannot "tolerate" a "rogue state" with weapons of mass destruction.

This rationale was applied by the Trump government against Syria after an alleged gas attack led to our forces launching a farcical non-lethal attack as punishment. Within the current range of acceptable national politics, nobody from Tulsi Gabbard to Rand Paul is willing to go the whole route and say it is none of our fucking business who has the same kind of weapons that we deploy all around the world.

This preposterous tale of the Ruskies putting a price on the head of GIs is of course a hoked up lie -- but, once again, the bullshit within the bullshit goes unquestioned.

Suppose Russia paid money to Afghans to kill Americans who have been trying to control the uncontrollable territory that Alexander the Great failed to subjugate. So what?

Charlie Wilson's War is a 2007 American biographical comedy-drama film, based on the story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA operative Gust Avrakotos, whose efforts led to Operation Cyclone, a program to organize and support the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet–Afghan War.

I thought the movie was exceptionally good as a movie, but idiotic propaganda as a narrative. Nevertheless, the reality is that the USA did, in fact, supply arms to the rebels in Afghanistan with the sole purpose of killing Russians.

Charlie befriends maverick CIA operative Gust Avrakotos and his understaffed Afghanistan group to find a better strategy, especially including a means to counter the Soviets' formidable Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. This group was composed in part of members of the CIA's Special Activities Division, including a young paramilitary officer named Michael Vickers. As a result, Charlie's deft political bargaining for the necessary funding and Avrakotos' careful planning using those resources, such as supplying the guerrillas with FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers, turns the Soviet occupation into a deadly quagmire with their heavy fighting vehicles being destroyed at a crippling rate. Charlie enlists the support of Israel and Egypt for Soviet weapons and consumables, and Pakistan for distribution of arms. The CIA's anti-communism budget evolves from $5 million to over $500 million (with the same amount matched by Saudi Arabia), startling several congressmen. This effort by Charlie ultimately evolves into a major portion of the U.S. foreign policy known as the Reagan Doctrine, under which the U.S. expanded assistance beyond just the mujahideen and began also supporting other anti-communist resistance movements around the world. Charlie states that senior Pentagon official Michael Pillsbury persuaded President Ronald Reagan to provide the Stingers to the Afghans.

The underlying premise of all this cheerleading for the CIA was that it was a GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT to kill Russians.

Like all these media balloons, the real agenda is not to get Trump to "get tough" with Russia, it is to define, "normal." And the normal they want is the Neo-Conservative notion of Full Spectrum Dominance, where America can kill or torture or depose governments at any time it pleases -- while all the other countries in the world are forbidden from doing the same, and we must invade any country BEFORE it is able to do such a thing.

Invented by George W. Bush, the policy is forthright, "We will not wait while dangers gather." Like Japan in World War II, our national security strategy is to strike first. Our efforts to control events in Afghanistan and Iraq have not been successful almost two decades into the forever war, but that has nothing to do with whoppers like The Bounty on GI Scalps. It is the premise behind those as yet unsuccessful efforts to control countries on the far side of the world that matters to our rulers.

That premise is that nobody else can defend themselves from us. If we as a citizenry buy that, we have become this century's Genghis Khan. I don't think anything like a majority of Americans even pays attention to stories like this, let alone believes them. But it is painful to see how many people who call themselves Democrats buy the premise that anybody who copies our behavior must be destroyed.

up
20 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@fire with fire

Bless you.

up
10 users have voted.

@fire with fire

...that if there were WMDs, the USA must therefore invade the country. ... -- "we" cannot "tolerate" a "rogue state" with weapons of mass destruction.

Except if there were actual WMDs, the USA will not invade. A lesson not lost on several nuclear armed countries.

up
9 users have voted.

@Marie Yes.

up
3 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

@Marie

up
1 user has voted.

We are so screwed.

edg's picture

@fire with fire

Operation Cyclone began under President Jimmy Carter in 1979. Although commonly credited to Reagan (and thru the movie, Democratic Rep. Charlie Wilson), it was Carter that got the ball rolling with his push for $695K funding in 1979 and $25M in 1980.

up
4 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

...about it, earlier.

Something like that should never be allowed to pass.

up
10 users have voted.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

— Martin Luther King

snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Yeah we need to make sure we cover the nonsense we are being exposed to. Here the NYSlimes is changing the story to make it worse than it was.

The article eventually gets around to quoting several local officials from Afghanistan, who say that several people who transfer money through an Islamic banking system are “suspected of being part of a ring of middlemen” between Russia and “Taliban-linked militants.

Heavy sigh.

up
8 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Azazello's picture

You have to read between the lines, but just a little bit.

In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.
The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.

Look at the list of scoundrels who believe that Trump doesn't get it on Nat. Sec. issues, all war-mongering careerists.
From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm US officials

up
11 users have voted.
edg's picture

@Azazello

that so many unelected senior advisers consider the national interest to be whatever the hell they want it to be and that they so often get their way despite the best interests of the country.

up
6 users have voted.
Azazello's picture

@edg
Who makes US foreign policy, the apparatchiks of the national security bureaucracy or the elected President of the US ?

up
5 users have voted.
Roy Blakeley's picture

Why would Russians pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers? The Taliban fights against American soldiers anyway. What is the benefit for Russia if a few more American soldiers die? Nothing of substance changes.

up
13 users have voted.
edg's picture

@Roy Blakeley

The Taliban and their associated militias don't need anybody to pay them to kill Americans. And Russia has more to lose than gain, because something like this could cause the US to stay in Afghanistan to prove we're the top dog.

up
4 users have voted.

wouldn't it be a bombshell if in 2019 he had briefed Trump on Russia paying Taliban to kill US soldiers? Something that wouldn't have been left out of Bolton's 'bombshell' book. If it's not in his book, it didn't happen.

Related worth reading:
Bolton Weaves a Tall Tale in His Venezuela Chapter

up
6 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

I’m betting some will buy it because they keep buying everything they’re told.

up
5 users have voted.

"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"