New York Times Continues To Leak Intelligence on Alleged Russian Bounties
July 4, 2020 (EIRNS)—The criminal intelligence leaks continue to flow to the New York Times. In a report posted yesterday, the Times described a memorandum produced by the National Intelligence Council “in recent days.” The memorandum allegedly is an attempt to maximize uncertainties surrounding intelligence indicating that Russian military intelligence had paid bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops, and that Trump had done nothing about it.
“The memo is said to contain no new information, and both its timing and its stressing of doubts suggested that it was intended to bolster the Trump Administration’s attempts to justify its inaction on the months-old assessment, the officials said.... Some former national security officials said the account of the memo indicated that politics may have influenced its production.”
But, one must ask, was there no politics behind the leaks to the Times?
The memo reportedly says that neither the National Security Agency nor the Defense Intelligence Agency had direct evidence confirming that Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) was, in fact, paying bounties. It seems that further, despite Afghan chatter about bounties, that American officials were unable to link any GRU payments to specific attacks.
Yet another report in the Times, also posted on July 3, claims that while the Russians officially and vociferously deny the existence of such an operation, the common view in Russia is that the Americans had it coming. “A deep well of bitterness created by past and current conflicts in Afghanistan, Ukraine and more recently Syria, where U.S. forces killed scores of Russian mercenaries in 2018, help explain why Russia, according to U.S. intelligence officials, has become so closely entangled with the Taliban.”
The Times is attempting to expand the revenge story, to give backing to the leaks it has been reporting on. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Times imagines, “has for years throbbed with real and imagined pain from hurt inflicted by the United States, notably the collapse of the Soviet Union, and a desire to make it pay.” It refers to Putin’s 2007 Berlin speech in which “Bristling with wounded pride,” Putin “denounced what he said was a ‘world of one master, one sovereign’ and complained that the “United States has overstepped its national borders, in every area.” Putin “has been settling scores ever since, often with help from the GRU,” the Times pouts.
In what could be considered a blow to the war party, one of its own, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, told Fox News yesterday that he has been unable to confirm the Times leaks from his sources within the Army. “The problem is none of the other intelligence agencies or I think some of the other countries that are involved in Afghanistan along with us can verify that,” he said. Keane said that if the U.S. military commanders believed that the Russians placed bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, they would have had the “loudest voice” in the entire national security team because they’re responsible. “They’re on the ground with those soldiers,” Keane said. “They don’t have that evidence.”
Meanwhile, various news reports have taken note of a significant portion of House Armed Services Committee Democrats siding with House Republican Conference chairman Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney (who was behind the lies that were used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003) on two amendments to the fiscal year 2021 Defense Authorization Bill which are aimed at hobbling President Trump’s ability to withdraw troops from both Afghanistan and Germany. The vote on the amendment to prevent Trump from lowering the troop level in Afghanistan to below 8,000 was 45–11. The opposition to the amendment was also bipartisan, led by Republican Matt Gaetz of Florida and Democrat Ro Khanna of California.