The New York Times has released a fresh piece citing a newly-released memo by The National Intelligence Council, saying that the government “lacks direct evidence” on the Russian-Taliban “bounties” case.
The level of confidence that Russia did “collude” with the Taliban in order to offer rewards for killing US soldiers was described in the new memo as “medium”, which The New York Times added “falls short of near certainty”.
Meanwhile, other agencies have expressed their confidence level to be even lower, saying they “did not have information to support that conclusion at the same level”.
“But, the two officials who discussed the memo in greater detail said, it stressed that the government lacks direct evidence of what the criminal network leaders and G.R.U. officials said at face-to-face meetings so it cannot say with any greater certainty that Russia specifically offered bounties in return for killings of Western soldiers”, said the report.
Even after having admitted to not obtaining credible evidence of their allegations, the NYT report goes on to cite concerns voiced by several officials that the “assessment of the suspected Russian bounty program could be politicized”.
“These products are never definitive, ever — there’s always caveats and holes and judgments and qualifications. The White House has portrayed it as not verified, but it’s never verified, so that struck me as misrepresentation. It would be very easy, if you want to take a different spin, to draw those out and amplify the ways it’s inconclusive”, former director of the National Counterterrorism Centre Matthew G. Olsen said.