Trump was ‘given written briefing in Feb. about Russia paying Taliban to kill US tr – The Sun
PRESIDENT Donald Trump was given a written briefing in February that concluded a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to reports.
The new information, reported by The New York Times, emerged on Monday as the White House attempted to downplay the assessment that Russia had sought to reward such killings.
It had been reiterated by the White House that President Trump was never briefed on the matter, but two officials told The Times that the intelligence was first presented to Trump months ago.
The officials said the information was included in Trump's Daily Brief document, a compilation of the government's latest secrets and foreign policy insights.
The document also focuses on insights into national security.
One source said the information about Russia bounties on US troops was included in late February, while the other said February 27 specifically.
Earlier Sunday evening, Trump had claimed the intelligence on the alleged bounties offered by Russian spies to Taliban militants wasn't credible.
The President took to Twitter as he blasted the shocking allegations as a "hoax", "maybe by the Fake News."
Trump posted to his 82.5 million followers that the US intelligence services have informed him the claims were "not credible," and, because of this, the information was never passed to him or vice president Mike Pence.
Unnamed intelligence officials were reported this week to have claimed Russian spies offered money to Taliban militants to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Unit 29155, an arm of the Kremlin's intelligence agency dubbed GRU, is said to be the brains behind the bounties, reported the New York Times.
The secretive military unit are also claimed to be connected to espionage incidents in Europe.
DOUBLING DOWN ON CLAIMS
Trump's claims come after he initially said non-one had briefed him on the matter.
On Saturday, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed the President over the accusations.
Biden said: "His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale.
“It’s betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way.
"It’s a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas."
In 2019, there were 20 American soldiers killed in combat in Afghanistan – but it hasn't been revealed which killings are being investigated.
Russia has also denied its involvement, describing the report as "baseless and anonymous" accusations.
The incentivized killing of US soldiers would mark the first time a Russian spy unit has organized direct attacks on Western soldiers.
The accusations officials made against Moscow are reportedly based on interrogations of captured criminals and Afghan militants.
It isn't known who was aware of the alleged covert operation in the Russian government or who authorized it.
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