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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, evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence.
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 article goes on to state the following:
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 NY Times reported that Afghan officials said several businessmen who transfer money were arrested in sweeping raids in Afghanistan over the past six months, on suspicions they were connected to a ring of middlemen between Russia and Taliban-linked militants.
About $500,000 was seized from one of the men’s homes during the raids, the report stated.
The Times said “three American officials” confirmed details about the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe released a blistering statement Monday evening, slamming anyone who may have leaked classified information. “The selective leaking of any classified information disrupts the vital interagency work to collect, assess and mitigate threats and places our forces at risk. It is also, simply put, a crime.”
“Unfortunately, unauthorized disclosures now jeopardize our ability to ever find out the full story with respect to these allegations,” Ratcliff added.
This is all so unbelievable! My son was there! I’m in utter disbelief.https://t.co/cd2GnhhCSh
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) June 30, 2020
The leaks on this story have been steady, relentless and escalating as though the sources want to be sure the implications stick https://t.co/Nm7XGx5mab
— Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) June 30, 2020
Breaking News: The U.S. intercepted financial transfer data that bolstered suspicions about Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan, officials say https://t.co/TsllSxuSo2
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 30, 2020
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