The intelligence community's assessment that Russia offered bounties on American service members appears to be relatively air tight based on what we know now.
I said I was interested to learn where the money they used to pay for the bounty program came from and, if this report is correct, it looks like the Russians idiotically used transfers from their own bank accounts.
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. Investigators also identified by name numerous Afghans in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation, the officials said — including, two of them added, 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 bolstered the findings gleaned from the interrogations, helping reduce an earlier disagreement among intelligence analysts and agencies over the reliability of the detainees. The disclosures further undercut White House officials’ claim that the intelligence was too uncertain to brief President Trump. In fact, the information was provided to him in his daily written brief in late February, two officials have said.
Local Afghan officials also reportedly confirmed that security forces participated in the raids that helped to prove the existent of the bounty program, with raids on homes of local businessmen who facilitated the money transfers.
This all seems so obvious it's like they wanted it to be found.
Now, although the intelligence reports seems to be fairly comprehensive with a clear money trail leading from Russian intelligence to local middlemen in Afghanistan, Trump has publicly said it's not credible. It's a hoax, he says.
There's something ironic about the Russians using American dollars to pay for bounties on Americans. They didn't use Russian currency because no one wants that.