Fox News is reporting that it was multiple intelligence streams that came back with the Russian bounty reporting, but that some of it was contradictory which is why it never made it up the chain to Trump:
Multiple intelligence threat streams indicated Russian intelligence operatives offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops, but while the National Security Council met recently to come up with a number of responses to the report, it did not brief President Trump, Fox News has learned.
According to a senior U.S. official who has been briefed on the matter, members of the NSC recently met at the White House to discuss “a menu of responses” to reports they had received about Russian actions in Afghanistan.
The official said that the information the NSC received was based on “several streams of intelligence of concern” with some of it being contradictory and some open to interpretation.
The Washington Post further reported that the Russian bounties are “believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members.” And The Associated Press reported that officials said an April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three Marines in Afghanistan is under investigation.
The Kremlin is denying the claims. A Putin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told NBC News on Monday that the Russia bounties story is “bulls—t.”
Trump has now been briefed:
Meanwhile, a White House official acknowledged to Fox News on Monday that Trump has now been briefed on the intelligence behind reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. It’s unclear exactly when this briefing took place, but the official says it took place sometime “after the NY Times reported on unverified intelligence.”
This statement is at odds with answers Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary gave to members of the White House press corps during Monday’s briefing. McEnany said – “The president has not been briefed on the matter” – and gave multiple variations of that answer throughout the briefing. But the White House official said, “Kayleigh meant the President had not been previously briefed on the matter (before the NYT report came out)”
“Russia will try to cover its tracks…”
The White House on Monday insisted there is “no consensus” that the intelligence that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops is accurate, which is why, it said, the issue was never flagged to President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.
A separate source within the military told Fox News on Monday that special operations forces this year raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500,000, with a subsequent interrogation of an Afghan fighter revealing that the money came from Russia.
The source added, however, that the information was unable to be easily verified and the incident was not included in briefings to senior leaders at the Pentagon.
U.S. officials are now concerned because of the leaked story that Russia will try to cover its tracks on this so-called bounty scheme.
While the intel reports are tough to verify and have credibility issues, it sounds like some believe it still could be true, as they fear Russia will now try and cover its tracks. I hope it isn’t true, but it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if it were. Russia really wants to be the dominant player in that region and they don’t like the US being there.