New evidence has emerged via a report in The New York Times that supports the allegation that Russian authorities were offering cash rewards to Afghan militants in exchange for the murder of coalition forces, including Americans. According to the Times, American authorities gathered evidence revealing large transfers of money from a bank account controlled by the Russian authorities to one that is linked to the Taliban. The revelation of the intercepted financial data outlining these transfers majorly undercuts the claim from President Donald Trump that the allegation of Russian bounties on American soldiers was “possibly… [a] hoax.”
In a Tuesday report, the Times outlines:
‘American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence.’
Apparently, according to the Times, the bounty program at least partly came to light through interrogations of detainees, and the concrete, specific evidence extends beyond the financial data — according to the Times, authorities “identified by name numerous Afghans in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation, the officials said — including, two of them added, a man believed to have served as an intermediary for distributing some of the funds and who is now thought to be in Russia.”
Reports have emerged indicating that behind the scenes, top officials knew about the apparent bounties on American soldiers for months before the news broke recently. Reportedly, President Donald Trump himself was even informed of the apparent plot all the way back in February, when the information was included in an edition of the President’s Daily Brief, which is a compendium of important intelligence and security information. Trump may not have read the document, if the information was in there, as reported. At no point has he or anyone else in the administration authorized any apparent step in response to the reported Russian bounties on American soldiers.
He’s responded to the reported bounties with stunning self-aggrandizement. He suggested that the bounties may have been made up by his political opponents just to make him look bad, which is a simply mind-boggling level of pathological self-obsession. Everything isn’t about you, Trump!
‘Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!’
Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!! https://t.co/cowOmP7T1S
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
He imagines that those concerned with trying to hold the president accountable and deal with actual, real problems are just trying to make him look bad.
It’s the same excuse that he’s used in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic — or not dealing with it, more accurately. He’s repeatedly claimed that concern about the spread of the virus is just some kind of plot to make him look bad. He infamously claimed at a rally in late February that concern over the virus was a “hoax.” In the time since, the U.S. Coronavirus death toll has soared past 125,000.