White House aware of reports Russia put bounties on U.S. troops since 2019: sources – National

Prime officers within the White Home have been conscious in early 2019 of categorized intelligence indicating Russia was secretly providing bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of People, a full 12 months sooner than has been beforehand reported, in response to U.S. officers with direct data of the intelligence.

The evaluation was included in a minimum of one among President Donald Trump’s written each day intelligence briefings on the time, in response to the officers. Then-national safety adviser John Bolton additionally advised colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence evaluation in March 2019.

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Fallout grows as White House distances Trump from report of bounties on U.S. troops

The White Home didn’t reply to questions on Trump or different officers’ consciousness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White Home has mentioned Trump was not — and nonetheless has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments as a result of they haven’t been totally verified. Nonetheless, it’s uncommon for intelligence to be confirmed with no shadow of a doubt earlier than it’s offered to prime officers.

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Bolton declined to remark Monday when requested by the AP if he had briefed Trump in regards to the matter in 2019. On Sunday, he instructed 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 all the pieces if no person ever advised him about it,” Bolton mentioned.

Bolton suggests Trump is attempting to flee blame by denying he was briefed about Russia report

Bolton suggests Trump is attempting to flee blame by denying he was briefed about Russia report

The revelations forged new doubt on the White Home’s efforts to distance Trump from the Russian intelligence assessments. The AP reported Sunday that considerations about Russian bounties have been additionally included in a second written presidential each day briefing earlier this 12 months and that present nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien had mentioned the matter with Trump. O’Brien denies he did so.

The administration’s earlier consciousness of the Russian efforts raises extra questions on why Trump didn’t take any punitive motion in opposition to Moscow for efforts that put the lives of People servicemembers in danger. Trump has sought all through his time in workplace to enhance relations with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, transferring earlier this 12 months to attempt to reinstate Russia as a part of a gaggle of world leaders it had been kicked out of.

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U.Okay. lawmaker says Britain ought to examine reported bounties in opposition to U.S., U.Okay. troops in Afghanistan

U.Okay. lawmaker says Britain ought to examine reported bounties in opposition to U.S., U.Okay. troops in Afghanistan

Officers mentioned they didn’t take into account the intelligence assessments in 2019 to be significantly pressing, provided that Russian meddling in Afghanistan will not be a brand new prevalence. The officers with data of Bolton’s obvious briefing for Trump mentioned it contained no “actionable intelligence,” which means the intelligence group didn’t have sufficient data to kind a strategic plan or response. Nonetheless, the categorized evaluation of Russian bounties was the only objective of the assembly.

The officers insisted on anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to reveal the extremely delicate data.

The intelligence that surfaced in early 2019 indicated Russian operatives had turn out to be extra aggressive of their want to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Community, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated a international terrorist group in 2012 throughout the Obama administration.

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Trump says he wasn’t briefed on reported bounties against U.S. troops in Afghanistan

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The Nationwide Safety Council and the undersecretary of defence for intelligence did maintain conferences concerning the intelligence. The Pentagon declined to remark and the NSC didn’t reply to questions in regards to the conferences.

Issues about Russian bounties flared anew this 12 months after members of the elite Naval Particular Warfare Improvement Group, identified to the general public as SEAL Staff Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $500 thousand in U.S. {dollars}. The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence group that the Russians had supplied cash to Taliban militants and different linked associations.

The White Home contends the president was unaware of this growth as effectively. Nonetheless, the data was additionally included within the presidential each day briefing. And officers advised the AP that O’Brien did temporary Trump on the matter. O’Brien has denied such a briefing occurred.

Biden slams Trump over reported bounties positioned on U.S., NATO troops

Biden slams Trump over reported bounties positioned on U.S., NATO troops

The officers advised the AP that profession authorities officers developed potential choices for the White Home to answer the Russian aggression in Afghanistan, which was first reported by The New York Occasions. Nonetheless, the Trump administration has but to authorize any motion.

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The intelligence in 2019 and 2020 surrounding Russian bounties was derived partially from debriefings of captured Talbian militants. Officers with data of the matter advised the AP that Taliban operatives from reverse ends of the nation and from separate tribes supplied comparable accounts.

The officers wouldn’t identify the precise teams or give particular areas in Afghanistan or time frames for after they have been detained.

Learn extra:
Biden slams Trump over New York Times report alleging bounties placed on U.S. troops

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denied that Russian intelligence officers had supplied funds to the Taliban in change for focusing on U.S. and coalition forces.

The U.S. is investigating whether or not any People died because of the Russian bounties. Officers are targeted particularly on an April 2019 assault on an American convoy. Three U.S. Marines have been killed after a automotive rigged with explosives detonated close to their armoured autos as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the most important U.S. navy set up in Afghanistan.

The Marines exchanged gunfire with the automobile in some unspecified time in the future; nonetheless, it’s not identified if the gunfire occurred earlier than or after the automotive exploded.

Trump says U.S. to tug out of ‘Open Skies’ treaty except Russia adheres to it

Trump says U.S. to tug out of ‘Open Skies’ treaty except Russia adheres to it

Abdul Raqib Kohistani, the Bagram district police chief, mentioned on the time that a minimum of 5 Afghan civilians have been wounded after the assault on the convoy, in response to earlier reporting by the AP. It isn’t identified if the civilians have been injured by the automotive bomb or the gunfire from U.S. Marines.

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The Defence Division recognized Marine Employees Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, from Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, from York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, from Locust Valley, New York, because the Marines killed in April 2019. The three Marines have been all squaddies assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit headquartered out of Backyard Metropolis, New York.

Hendriks’ father advised the AP that even a hearsay of Russian bounties ought to have been instantly addressed.

“If this was type of swept underneath the carpet as to not make it an even bigger subject with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled after they knew this, I misplaced all respect for this administration and all the pieces,” Erik Hendriks mentioned.

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Afghan government, Taliban agree to hold peace talks in Qatar

Marine Main Roger Hollenbeck mentioned on the time that the reserve unit was part of the Georgia Deployment Program-Resolute Assist Mission, a reoccurring, six-month rotation between U.S. Marines and Georgian Armed Forces. The unit first deployed to Afghanistan in October 2018.

Three different service members and an Afghan contractor have been additionally wounded within the assault. As of April 2019, the assault was underneath a separate investigation, unrelated to the Russian bounties, to find out the way it unfolded.

The officers who spoke to the AP additionally mentioned they have been wanting carefully at insider assaults — generally known as “green-on-blue” incidents — from 2019 to find out if they’re additionally linked to Russian bounties.

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AP writers Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann in Washington, Deepti Hajela in New York and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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