A major election-time story involving claims that Russia put bounties on American troops in Afghanistan imploded on Thursday when the White House revealed that U.S. intelligence does not have conclusive evidence that the reports were ever true.
Intelligence assessments, first reported by the New York Times last June, allegedly revealed that the Russian government had secretly offered bounties for successful attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Democrats seized on the story to paint Donald Trump as a traitor willing to do the bidding of the Russians even at the cost of American lives.
Democrats, and some “never Trump” Republicans like Liz Cheney, used the story to block President Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2020.
Trump, his Director of National Intelligence (DNI) at the time John Ratcliffe, and his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany all forcefully denied that the former President had ever been briefed on such a matter.
The Daily Beast now reports the Biden administration admits the intelligence was not conclusive.
“U.S. intelligence only had ‘low to moderate’ confidence in the story after all,” they write.
“Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.”
NEW: U.S. intel walks back blockbuster ‘Russian bounties’ claim https://t.co/jtPzfALH1L
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) April 15, 2021
Media, Democrats Pounced On Russian Bounties Story
The Russian bounties story is yet another in a long line of poorly-sourced drivel that was produced by the media during the Trump administration.
It took 10 months to get the truth to come out and the New York Times irresponsibly ran with what they had at the time based on unnamed “intelligence officials.”
It is why the media are the most corrupt institution in America today. Democrats know that, and they used that corruption to batter the former President with reckless allegations, time and again.
And they used it to make serious national security decisions, like blocking America’s exit from the 20-year-long war in Afghanistan.
Joe Biden used the story repeatedly during the campaign. He called it a “horrifying revelation” if true.
Biden, in the first presidential debate, accused Trump of being “Putin’s puppy.”
“He still refuses to even say anything to Putin about the bounty on the heads of American soldiers,” he added.
Joe Biden calls President Donald Trump ‘Putin’s puppy’
Four Years of Russia Hysteria is not Over
Is There Are No Incurable Diseases?
Maybe Russophobia! pic.twitter.com/3xgPWTR4BI
— ivan (@ivan8848) November 14, 2020
In an interview with ABC News, Nancy Pelosi said that Trump wanted to “ignore any allegation against Russia,” and that “all roads lead to Putin” with him.
“Whether he is or not, his administration knows,” Speaker Pelosi says as White House denies Trump was briefed.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 28, 2020
And of course, the lapdog media simply parroted the New York Times story, as this montage from the Daily Caller demonstrates.
A look back on how cable news went all in on the discredited Russian bounties story. pic.twitter.com/QaG9xAqiuR
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 15, 2021
The story at the time, according to the Daily Beast, “sparked a massive outcry from Democrats and their #resistance amplifiers about the treasonous Russian puppet in the White House whose admiration for Vladimir Putin had endangered American troops.”
“His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Biden said after the story broke.
“Its a betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harms way,” he added. “Its a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas.”
Trump Slammed The Story As Fake News
It turns out Trump had a very good reason for not commenting on the story – it wasn’t credible and he knew it.
“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or [Vice President Pence],” Trump tweeted at the time. “Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax.”
Ratcliffe confirmed this saying, “neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting.”
And McEnenay absolutely leveled the New York Times over the report, telling them to “give back your Pulitzer.”
The Daily Beast article explains: “It was a huge election-time story that prompted cries of treason. But according to a newly disclosed assessment, Donald Trump might have been right to call it a ‘hoax.’”
How many Russia-themed hoaxes have the media and Democrats been caught in at this point?
And which one of the intrepid reporters following Biden around the country is going to grow a set and ask President Biden why he was willing to help spread a false story with little evidence of its truth from the onset?
Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
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Author: Rusty Weiss
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