Jefferson Morley | June 29, 2020
Russia’s GRU Offered Bounty on U.S. Soldiers; Trump Dismisses CIA Findings
The CIA briefed President Trump on intelligence reports that a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties to Afghan rebels to kill American soldiers, according to the New York Times and Washington Post.
Trump denies he was briefed and says the reports were not credible. The Trump administration took no action.
From The Washington Post
The disturbing intelligence — which the CIA was tasked with reviewing, and later confirmed — generated disagreement about the appropriate path forward, a senior U.S. official said. The administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, preferred confronting the Russians directly about the matter, while some National Security Council officials in charge of Russia were more dismissive of taking immediate action, the official said.
The New York Times says that unit of Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, organized the bounty campaign.
The officials briefed on the matter said the government had assessed the operation to be the handiwork of Unit 29155, an arm of Russia’s military intelligence agency, known widely as the G.R.U. The unit is linked to the March 2018 nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury, England, of Sergei Skripal, a former G.R.U. officer who had worked for British intelligence and then defected, and his daughter.
Here’s some fact-checked background information on the GRU.
Here’s a BBC interview with the chief of another Russian intelligence service, the SVR.