President Donald Trump continues to dismiss the seriousness of his job. Now, he’s insisting that reports that Russian authorities offered bounties to Afghan militants in return for the killings of coalition forces including Americans may have been made up to make him look bad. There is absolutely zero evidence that the plot was made up by anyone in the media. Now, three NATO officials have anonymously revealed to Business Insider that they were, in fact, briefed about the intelligence outlining the apparent Russian bounty plot. In the Monday report, two of the officials said their briefings had been just about a week prior.
Business Insider notes that “US officials began briefing UK and other European allies last week.” The revelation that NATO officials had been briefed about the evidence revealing a Russian bounty plot helps majorly undercut the president’s attempt to discredit the story.
One of the officials told Business Insider:
‘We were briefed [by the Americans] on a potential threat to our troops in Afghanistan from operatives potentially linked to the Russian intelligence services. There is no indication that our troops — or any non-US NATO troops — have been targeted in these attacks, but all NATO services with casualties in Afghanistan over the past two years are currently checking for any connections.’
While there’s not yet any apparent connection between the Russian bounty plot and deaths of non-U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, there is at least one incident involving American deaths that is reportedly under investigation for possible connections to the bounty plot. The particular U.S.-involved incident under scrutiny is an April 2019 roadside bomb attack in which three American service members were killed.
One of the officials who spoke anonymously to Business Insider revealed that their own intelligence service had apparently reported concerns about Russian activity in Afghanistan to both NATO leadership and U.S. officials. In reference to Afghanistan, that official said:
‘It’s a place they know and can easily access, and it offers Putin a free arena to cause problems with great deniability. We have been seeing increased Russian activity and a sense they were helping certain groups or kinds of groups get weapons and reported these things to NATO command and the Americans.’
The official suggested that the current revelation of the apparent Russian bounty plot may be the result of investigations launched after warnings like the one their intelligence service had delivered.
Obviously, this situation is very serious, but Trump has been treating it as anything but serious.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted:
‘No corroborating evidence to back reports.” Department of Defense. Do people still not understand that this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party. I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level’
Does Trump seriously expect us to take him at his word that reports of the Russian bounty plot were just made up to make him look bad? He’s a documented liar, and via his latest belligerence, he’s ignoring a potentially serious national security crisis.
“No corroborating evidence to back reports.” Department of Defense. Do people still not understand that this is all a made up Fake News Media Hoax started to slander me & the Republican Party. I was never briefed because any info that they may have had did not rise to that level
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020