Following the release of an anonymously sourced report by The New York Times, then-President Donald Trump faced a barrage of criticism over claims that he sat idly by while Russia was paying bounties to members of the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Trump, for his part, had denounced the claims as a hoax, but those on the left didn’t seem to buy it at the time. Now, however, in a moment of vindication for the former president, the Biden administration has quietly admitted that Trump was probably right.
According to Breitbart, a senior Biden administration official said on a call with reporters Thursday that U.S. investigators had only “low to moderate confidence” that the story about Russia putting bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers was true.
“The United States intelligence community assesses with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks on U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019 and perhaps earlier,” the official confessed, according to Breitbart.
Walked back months later
It took months for U.S. intelligence officials to finally walk back the claim regarding alleged bounties from Russia, which The Daily Beast pegged as little more than a “rumor.”
“According to the officials on Thursday’s call, the reporting about the alleged ‘bounties’ came from ‘detainee reporting’ — raising the specter that someone told their U.S.-aligned Afghan jailers what they thought was necessary to get out of a cage,” The Daily Beast reported.
“Without additional corroboration, such reporting is notoriously unreliable,” the outlet added.
Despite this, many in the media ran with the story, which came just months before the highly contested 2020 presidential election. At the time, then-candidate Joe Biden had said Trump’s apparent apathy toward the Russian bounty situation was a “horrifying revelation,” if true, The Daily Beast noted.
Trump admin cleared
Unfortunately, it seems the truth is coming out too late to make much of a difference. There’s no telling what sort of damage the original story did to Trump’s campaign and the credibility of all involved in his intelligence community.
Still, members of former President Trump’s administration, including ex-Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah, are making clear that they had denied the reports all along.
“The media failed on the reporting around this [and] the public was misled,” Farah declared in a tweet Thursday. Take a look:
We repeatedly told the public this story was unverified & unproven. @robertcobrien went to the sticks at the @WhiteHouse & said it directly. I saw the intel. The media failed on the reporting around this & the public was misled https://t.co/PfxVrVZXDb
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) April 15, 2021