Intercepted Bank Transfers Show Russia Sent Money To Taliban-Linked Accounts
“American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account,” reported the New York Times in June.
This finding is “among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.” Furthermore, “investigators also identified by name numerous Afghans in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation” including “a man believed to have served as an intermediary for distributing some of the funds and who is now thought to be in Russia.”
This information has helped reduce doubts about the reliability of information gleaned from detainees, and “the disclosures further undercut White House officials’ claim that the intelligence was too uncertain to brief President Trump.” Nevertheless, White House officials have tried to discredit the claims. For example, the New York Times wrote that “White House and National Security Council officials declined to comment” on the matter, “as did the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe.”
Additionally, officials such as “Mr. Ratcliffe; the national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien; and the Pentagon’s top spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman” said “that recent news reports about Afghanistan remained unsubstantiated.”
The Times’ also reported that the White House’s intelligence briefing for House Republicans last month “seemed to be to make the point that the intelligence on the suspected Russian bounty plot was not clear cut.” The report also stated that “administration officials did not mention anything in the House Republican briefing about intercepted data tracking financial transfers,” citing two people familiar with the briefing.