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Does the Trump administration know that Russia may reward the US military in Afghanistan?

What has dominated US politics in the past few days is news that Russia may have paid the Taliban militants the preparations to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2019, and the Trump administration knows nothing about the plan and has not Take any action to stop or punish Russia.

The New York Times reported on Friday that U.S. intelligence officials found evidence that a unit of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU has offered a reward to the US military in Afghanistan. It is unclear how many people were killed as part of the conspiracy, but it was reportedly investigating the incident of three marines killed in a car bomb attack near Bagram Airport in April 201


The Times reported that President Donald Trump was informed of Russia’s actions a few months ago, but chose not to respond.

Trump loudly denied this claim on Sunday, Tweet “No one introduced or told me, [Vice President Mike] Penny or chief of staff [Mark Meadows]Regarding the alleged attacks by the Russians on our troops in Afghanistan,” he added: “Everyone denies this and there are very few attacks on us. “

However, there is increasing evidence that this is wrong.

The Associated Press reported on Monday and Monday that in March 2019, then-national security adviser John Bolton personally briefed Trump on Russia’s plan. Also on Monday evening, the New York Times reported that intelligence was included in the February 27 President’s Daily Brief, which is what the CIA said “the highest level of intelligence on the president’s key national security issues. Summary”. “Anxiety” is prepared by the President’s intelligence chief for the President.

So, how to deal with all this?

Experts on Russia and Afghanistan say that this basic proposition-that Russia rewards Afghan militants to kill US troops-is reasonable. Since at least 2015, Russia has tried to destroy and weaken the United States and its allies from the shadows, sometimes even violently. GRU has always been the spearhead of Putin. It will make sense to specifically target the US military in Afghanistan, which is support for the US against anti-Soviet armed forces in the 1980s.

Steven Pifer, an expert on Russia at the Brookings Institution, said: “Russia or at least some Russian institutions can clearly assassinate political opponents in London, Salisbury and Berlin.” “From there The coalition soldiers who set out to catch up with Afghanistan are not that big step.”

But at this point, Trump has apparently not taken any action on disclosure, and is becoming as important as the Russian plan itself.

It now appears that the senior officials of the Trump administration have known that Russia has conspiracy to murder Americans for more than a year, and has notified the president several times. However, Trump not only did not respond, but at best did not seem to alert him to realize that he had obtained information many times, or worst of all, he did not understand his information at all.

Either way, it further proves that the Trump administration’s decision-making method has been completely broken. This again raises disturbing questions about Trump’s Russia policy. Now, lawmakers on both sides-and the mother of one of the Marines killed in the Bagram attack-are asking for answers.

“We will hold a hearing,” Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) told me. “We will discuss this in depth.”

Is Russia paying the Taliban to murder Americans? Why are they?

Initially, it was unclear how the Russian plan worked, or how strong the US intelligence was. But in the past day, the power of intelligence has become disturbingly obvious.

According to an article in the New York Times on Tuesday, American spies base their assessment on two main sources of information: cross-examination of arrested Afghan militants showed the program’s help and intercepted bank records, which showed A large payment from the GRU bank account to the Taliban. The Afghan government’s security forces supported this conclusion. They captured a group of local businessmen who appeared to act as intermediaries between the Russian government and Afghan militants.

According to the Times, this finding helps “reduce earlier disagreements between intelligence analysts and agencies regarding the reliability of detainees.” Intelligence is clearly convincing that the United States shares intelligence with its British counterparts ( The British army is also actively participating in Afghanistan, which is part of a joint battle led by the United States, which may also be targeted by The Times.)

Both the Russian government and the Taliban denied the accusation, and the militants pointed out in a statement to the New York Times that they did not need any incentives from the Russians to kill Americans.

However, experts believe that this statement is credible, and pointed out that this plan is generally consistent with Russia’s recent operation.

Alina Polyakova, President and CEO of the European Policy Analysis Center, said: “It was really shocking five years ago.” She said: “But now, the Russians are like there is an open The competitive environment has no real consequences for similar actions in the past.”

In the process of transferring two American soldiers killed in the Afghan sergeant, the soldiers carried the coffin onto the van. First class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez and Sergeant. On February 10, 2020, Antonio Rey Rodriguez first class.
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The military intelligence agency GRU is considered to be behind the reward case, and is also a major participant in Russian intervention in the 2016 US election. Allegedly, a specific part of the GRU that issued the bounty, Unit 29155, tended to handle more violent actions, such as the poisoning of Russian double spy Sergei Skripal in the UK in 2018.

These actions reflect the broader Russian strategic doctrine under Putin’s leadership. Despite possessing nuclear weapons and large oil reserves, Russia is a fundamentally weak country compared to US competitors.

Lack of things like conventional U.S. military power or global alliance networks, it uses covert operations as a form of low-level asymmetric warfare-weakening the United States, which Putin believes is an obstacle to expanding Russia’s geopolitical influence without having to report to the outside world Fight openly against stronger enemies.

As a result, a military intelligence agency was authorized to conduct covert operations worldwide, ranging from hacker attacks, espionage, to total murders, with the aim of creating chaos and weakening the United States’ ability to check and balance Russian expansionism.

Polyakova said: “If the Kremlin’s top level did not approve activities in Afghanistan, it would not happen.” “Practical details of how they implemented the bounty program-I believe these details will never be as high as Putin himself. However, the broader directives that harm US interests do come from the top.”

Afghanistan is the ideal place for such anti-American activities. War zones are inherently violent and chaotic, which makes it easier for Russians to kill American troops without killing themselves. This is also a (perceived) symmetrical revenge for the involvement of the United States in Ukraine. The United States provided Ukraine with lethal weapons to assist it in its fight against Russian invaders.

This is also a symbolic reward for the US decision to arm Afghan militants against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. According to reports, some members of the GRU 29155 unit were veterans of that war and saw Americans killed in revenge by the “Cold Dishes”.

“Remember for some Americans, Afghanistan in the 1980s was a reward for Vietnam,” said Barnett Rubin, a political scientist at New York University who studies Afghanistan. “What goes around comes around.”

In short, this is not just a violent expansion of the 2016 election hacking campaign. This reflects that under Putin’s rule, Russia’s foreign policy has become a project to realize a great special vision for the country. This is a form of revenge for historical humiliation and the restoration of the Kremlin as one of the world’s powers. tool.

For this, the United States must be punished.

What does the president know, when did he know?

If intelligence is really true, and we don’t know it, then the Russian government hires terrorists to kill Americans. This is not conventional espionage or even “cyber warfare”; literally, this is a war act from a nuclear weapon state.

People certainly hope that the US President is worried, or at least aware of it.

It is generally expected that the president will be informed of the intelligence assessment. If the intelligence community has reliable evidence that something is politically and strategically explosive, then the president needs to know in order to start thinking about how to respond. At least, he should be expected to try to figure out the possibility that the plot is real, such as asking questions about procurement and how seriously he needs to take it.

But Trump Claim He was never informed of intelligence because his officials “could not find reliable information and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. [Mike Pence]. ”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that he had not informed Trump of the situation because there was no “consensusInformation about the accuracy of claims in intelligence agencies. McKinney said: “Only after verification can it be promoted to the presidency.”

However, it is not necessary for each agency to reach a consensus on intelligence assessment before submitting it to the president’s desk. On the one hand, not every agency may see basic evidence (such as interrogation tapes and financial records) and be able to make independent judgments. Moreover, it is clearly enough to brief a foreign ally, Britain.

Mieke Eoyang, vice president of national security at Third Way, said: “This is a very serious matter, and it is obviously credible enough to reach the White House all the way.” It is a think tank from the left.

In a speech, Trump’s senior intelligence official and director of the National Intelligence Agency, John Ratcliffe, said in a speech statement On Saturday he had “confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President had heard any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its report yesterday.”

Gina Haspel, head of the CIA, was ambiguous on whether to provide intelligence to the president. He said in a statement on Monday: “When conducting an intelligence assessment, the initial tactical report is usually Additional collection and confirmation are required.”

But two reports from the Associated Press and The New York Times indicate that Trump was informed of this information-not once, but multiple times, dating back to March 2019 at the earliest.

President Trump Addresses U.S. Workforce Policy Advisory Committee

President Trump on June 26, 2020.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Associated Press reported: “Senior White House officials were aware of classified intelligence in early 2019, indicating that Russia was secretly offering bounty to the Taliban to kill Americans.” Officials said: “At least at the time President Donald Trump wrote This assessment was included in the daily intelligence briefing. John Bolton, the then national security adviser, also told his colleagues that he introduced the intelligence assessment to Trump in March 2019.

Although the Associated Press stated that “officials said they do not consider the intelligence assessment for 2019 particularly urgent”, they also reported that “a confidential assessment of Russian bounties is the sole purpose of the United Nations. [Trump-Bolton] meeting. “In addition, they reported that Robert O’Brien, the current national security adviser, also personally had a dialogue with Trump on this matter (Obrien denied this).

In addition, two intelligence officials also told the New York Times that the assessment was included in the Trump Daily Briefing in February 2020-an official determined the exact date of the written briefing, which is February 27.

Therefore, some situations are possible here, although some are more reasonable than others:

  1. Trump has never received briefings on intelligence, and all of these intelligence officials have said otherwise they are lying to the press.
  2. Trump was informed of intelligence many times, but did not pay attention, thinking that it was not of sufficient importance or credibility to be concerned, or that he was forgotten despite being repeatedly told.
  3. Trump heard briefings on intelligence and lied.

Either case is true, and any one of these three cases is a severe charge against the Trump administration’s foreign policy guidelines.

Whatever the explanation, this is a real scandal

Let us introduce these three situations in turn.

1) Trump never heard briefings about intelligence, and all intelligence officials said they would not lie to the media

This is hard to believe.

On the one hand, the New York Times’ report on this is extremely detailed and almost surprising. According to reports, detailed information about financial records was specifically included in a briefing on the subject in late February.

It is worth noting that the Times reporter quoted a specific date—February 27, 2020—Trump received the President’s Daily Brief, which contains information about the Russian conspiracy. This is indeed very easy to refute. If there is no relevant information on that day, the White House may just leak PDB from February 2020 and embarrass the “failed” New York Times. If intelligence officials provide a specific date, and the Times reporter cited that date, then they may be very confident that it is there.

If the chance of the White House telling the truth is small, it is still not a good idea for the White House. This may mean that people in the intelligence and national security circles do not believe that he provided such information about Russia-this fear seems to prove the way the president has dealt with this issue since it became public.

2) Trump has listened to briefings on intelligence many times, and did not attract attention, believing that it is not of sufficient importance or credibility to attract attention, or just forget it over and over again.

It may be hard to believe that the president may not remember the conspiracy that was told that Russia was going to kill American soldiers, but as far as Trump is concerned, this is indeed credible.

During the corona virus pandemic, Trump repeatedly accused the intelligence community of failing to warn him about the risks of the virus in a timely manner. However, the New York Times reported that he had been warned, but he was not interested in learning and was not accepting new information so much that he could not be internalized:

Interviews with 10 current and former intelligence officials familiar with intelligence briefings have shown that Mr. Trump, who has been attacking intelligence agencies for up to a year, is particularly difficult to report on important national security issues.

They said that the president was eager to cut the line, making it difficult for him to get back to the topic. His attention is not focused and he rarely reads intelligence reports, but relies on conservative media and his friends for information. Tips or rumors he heard from former casino tycoon Steve Wynn (retired golfer Gary Player or conservative media executive Christopher Ruddy) Based language is not ashamed to disturb intelligence officials and improvisation.

Officials say Mr. Trump rarely absorbs information that he disagrees with or runs counter to his worldview. Compared with his predecessor, briefing him is a huge challenge. Intelligence agencies have hired external consultants to study how to better show him information.

This is the same as Michael Wolff Fire and anger To Bolton Happening room: The President does not study, nor does he seem to care about understanding the country he leads. The indifference to knowledge and policy is entirely possible to explain why he did not take any action to deal with the conspiracy of Russian murder of Americans.

3) Trump listened to the intelligence briefing and remembered this, and lied to the American people

The President and his employees have been lying, and this is something that all of us have begun to accept.

But in this case, lying can be particularly disturbing. The relationship between the president and the Russian hard-line leaders is so strange that he does not seem to seriously and objectively threaten Russia’s actions.

If Trump lied, then the factual pattern here is indeed disturbing. The Obama incumbent who served in Trump, former ISIS envoy Brett McGurk, pointed out that Trump has multiple opportunities to make this request directly to Putin. Not only is he not, but in fact he has been working hard to improve Russia’s international image during this period:

In short, this is not just another lie of Trump. This would be a serious lie, and a lie belied his decision to free Putin from murder.

This is great for Russia

Given how bad the situation is, the Trump administration defaults to using its typical script: lying and accusing others. Trump speculated on Sunday night that the New York Times had invented this story to hurt him:

It coincides with Russia’s official attitude towards the scandal. Compare Trump’s tweets with those sent to the United States by the Russian embassy on Saturday:

Polyakova said: “It really shocked me to see the Kremlin and the White House recounting this matter.” “This type of operation is intentional [designed for] The Kremlin seems to have reasons to refuse. …They are confused and ambiguous [the Russians] Flourish. “

Fundamentally, the problem here is that the president is neither reliable nor interested in the actual mechanism of US policy (foreign and domestic policies). In the US system, the president plays an indispensable role in foreign policy decisions. Only the President can make rulings between different bureaucratic interests and formulate overall policies.

When you have a leader who is unwilling or may not play this role, the ship of the entire American country will become rudderless. American foreign policy has become unfocused and chaotic.

This is exactly how the Russians like it.

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