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1 Jul, 2020 21:38

Career CIA officer made ‘the right call’ by not briefing Trump on ‘Russian bounties’ – NSA O’Brien

Career CIA officer made ‘the right call’ by not briefing Trump on ‘Russian bounties’ – NSA O’Brien

A career CIA officer decided not to brief President Donald Trump about intelligence speculation that Russia was paying bounties for the deaths of US troops in Afghanistan, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has revealed.

“She made that decision because she didn’t have the confidence in the intelligence that came up,” O’Brien told reporters on Wednesday. “She made that call and you know what? She made the right call. And knowing the facts I know now, I stand behind that call,” he added.

The New York Times published a story last week, citing anonymous intelligence sources, claiming that Trump was briefed about the “assessment” regarding the bounties in March, later changing that to a written brief in February.

The White House has denied it outright. Trump himself denounced it as “just another made up by Fake News tale” and “another HOAX!"

Also on rt.com Trump resumes attack on NYT’s ‘Russian bounty’ story, says 'secret source probably doesn't even exist'

“This was something that never got presented to me... because it didn't rise to that level,” Trump told Fox Business in an interview aired on Wednesday. “Many of the intelligence people didn't think it was something that even happened.”

Democrat lawmakers have suggested that it was a political appointee who may have withheld the intelligence from the president, but O’Brien’s comments made it clear that it was a career CIA official who made the decision.

The leak to the Times has been referred to the Justice Department, the adviser added, because the revelation has now made it “almost impossible for us to find out what happened.”

The Taliban have denied that they were ever paid or offered bounties to kill US or coalition troops in Afghanistan. Moscow has likewise rejected the accusations as fantasies, noting that they seemed to be aimed at derailing the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as weaponized for the purposes of internal US politics.

The White House has referred to the Times' reporting as “unverified intelligence that is currently being assessed.” Directors of the CIA and NSA are expected to brief the 'Gang of Eight' congressional leaders about the alleged bounties on Thursday.

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