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, which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan,” the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
“Though the United States has accused Russia of providing general support to the Taliban before, analysts concluded from other intelligence that the transfers were most likely part of a bounty program that detainees described during interrogations,” The Times reported, citing three officials familiar with the intelligence.
Investigators also reportedly identified by name numerous Afghans in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation. This included a man believed to have served as an intermediary for distributing some of the funds and who is now thought to be in Russia.
The intercepts supported claims about the bounty program described by detainees during interrogations.
The bombshell report further undercuts President Trump and his White House’s claim that the intelligence was too uncertain for him to be briefed on.
“In fact, the information was provided to him in his daily written brief in late February,” two officials confirmed to the Times.
Trump received a written briefing and a briefing from then-National Security Advisor John Bolton in early 2019, according to the Associated Press.
Top White House officials were aware of the intelligence in early 2019, which also claims that then-National Security Advisor John Bolton told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence in March 2019, and that it was included in one the president’s written daily intelligence briefings around that time.