WASHINGTON — The U.S. has actually collected intelligence that Russian intelligence officers have actually provided to pay bounties to Taliban fighters who eliminate Americans, 3 individuals informed on the matter informed NBC News.
The intelligence has actually been shown congressional leaders and with the British federal government, the sources stated. However, a senior defense authorities minimized the intelligence reporting, stating there was no proof that any bounty was really paid.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
The news was initially reported by The New York Times, which stated “the intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump,” who rejected having actually gotten the rundown Sunday. National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe likewise rejected late Saturday that Trump had actually been informed.
According to The Times, the reporting was explained in the President’s Daily Brief, a composed summary of top-level nationwide security matters. NBC News has actually not validated whether Trump was offered a rundown on the matter, however it would be uncommon if leading authorities did not verbally inform the president on something so explosive.
Former nationwide security consultant John Bolton stated Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that it would be “disturbing” if authorities had actually not informed the president about the matter.
NBC News’ sources were unable to make it clear how convincing the intelligence is. A source informed The Times that the evaluation was based in part on interviews with Afghan detainees. That alone would not show the case, however the U.S. would probably have actually attempted to get interactions intercepts from the Russians that shed light. In the past, the National Security Agency has actually had success permeating Russia’s military intelligence system, the GRU.
An intelligence authorities stated the report is not especially unexpected offered the laden history in between the U.S. and Russia. The U.S. armed Afghan fighters with rockets to shoot down Soviet helicopters in the 1980s when the Soviet Union was combating in Afghanistan, part of a CIA hidden action that eliminated lots of Russians. In 2018, U.S. forces eliminated a variety of Russian mercenaries who were running with pro-regime forces in Syria.
But other professionals have actually stated that if the report holds true, it is a major escalation in Russia’s post-Cold War actions versus the U.S.