Be sure to follow me on Twitter @leftiblog

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


"Russian bounties" story falls apart

 At the end of June, headlines in the New York Times reported a bombshell: "Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says". Make no mistake, though, this wasn't really a Times' story, it was a CIA press release disguised as a news story. Literally the only original reporting in the story was the Times asking the DoD, Russia and the Taliban for comment (the last two denied it vigorously).

That story quickly made its way to all other media, and just as quickly, the "intelligence says" part was forgotten and it became a simple truth promoted by media and Democrats as well — "Russia paid bounties." From there, and just as quickly, the story became "why didn't Trump do something about it?"; indeed, a Lincoln Project ad on that theme appeared just days after the initial New York Times story.

From the start, that story was suspect, despite the way it became "truth". For starters, there was the timing. Just a month before, Trump had announced plans for a U.S. pullout from Afghanistan by election day. The appearance of this story shortly thereafter was likely not a coincidence, and indeed, that presumed motivation for the leak became reality as Democrats, working with Liz Cheney, pushed through an amendment to the NDAA which made it harder to Trump to withdraw troops.

Secondly, the story was suspect because it didn't make sense. The Taliban had been at war with, and killing, U.S. forces for 19 years. They hardly needed "bounties" from Russia to continue that war and that killing.

Thirdly, it quickly became known that the NSA, arguably the most unbiased of the intelligence agencies, "strongly dissented" from the conclusion of other intelligence agencies. And even without that dissent, if you looked at the actual evidence which was made public, it was thin gruel indeed.

That "Russian bounties" was a sketchy (at best) story was obvious to at least some people at the time, among them, myself. On both my July 2 and July 10 appearances on Loud & Clear, I spoke about the subject.

And now, two and a half months after the initial story, two and a half months in which "Russian bounties" has continued to be a "fact" as opposed to an accusation, two and a half months in which "Trump did nothing" became one of the weapons in Democrats' (otherwise completely justified) attacks on Trump, the other shoe has dropped:

"Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members, the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.

""It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. continues to hunt for new information on the matter, he said.

""We continue to look for that evidence," the general said. "I just haven't seen it yet. But … it's not a closed issue."

"McKenzie's comments, reflecting a consensus view among military leaders, underscores the lack of certainty around a narrative that has been accepted as fact by Democrats and other Trump critics, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has cited Russian bounties in attacks on President Donald Trump."
Interestingly, neither the New York Times, Washington Post, or CNN has yet covered McKenzie's remarks. Only The Hill, the National Review, RT and Sputnik have reported the story (in addition to the original story from NBC News).

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com High Class Blogs: News and Media