From the unlikely duo of Antiwar.com and the Wall Street Journal comes a dissent from the leaked intelligence reports that Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, offered bounty payments to Taliban commanders who killed U.S. servicemen in Afghanistan.
The National Security Agency and the CIA differed on the intelligence, with NSA analysts concluding the evidence wasn’t there. CIA director Gina Haspel has made an opaque statement confirming that the agency has collected and disseminated reports on the subject.
The Journal cites “people familiar with the matter” and does not give much detail, but the story is noteworthy, as the NSA has dissented from other agencies in the past over allegations against Russia. A January 2017 intelligence assessment that concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 election on President Trump’s behalf was given “high confidence” by the CIA and FBI while the NSA gave “moderate confidence.”
Dave Decamp of Antiwar.com notes other news organizations have reported the same thing.
Another account of the NSA not giving much weight to this intelligence was given to CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge on Monday. An unnamed intelligence official told Herridge that the NSA deemed a report on the Russian bounties “uncorroborated.” The official said the report “does not match well-established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices” and lacks “sufficient reporting to corroborate any links.”