WASHINGTON — Intelligence officials say a news report about Russia paying the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan does not match “verifiable” Taliban activity and was never presented to President Trump because it was not deemed credible.
The National Security Agency reviewed the claims contained in the New York Times report but found it did “not match well established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices,” according to reporting by CBS News’ senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge, who tweeted that she spoke to an intelligence official with direct knowledge.
The intelligence report also lacked “sufficient reporting to corroborate any links” and because there were so many dissenting opinions over the allegations, the report only ever reached “low levels” of the White House’s National Security Council and was never flagged for Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.
Herridge’s reporting casts doubt on the Times report, which claimed US officials briefed Trump in March on Russia’s alleged scheme to pay Taliban militants to kill American forces in Afghanistan in an attempt to expel them from the region.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied these allegations Monday and said the president was never briefed because of dissenting opinions with the intelligence community.
A senior intelligence official confirmed the Russia-Taliban bounty allegations were never contained in the president’s daily briefing on highly classified security matters, Herridge wrote.