The US State Department has warned Russia that the consequences if Moscow pays the Taliban for the successful killing of American soldiers will have consequences, according to two senior US officials and another person who knows the case.
The warnings were issued through the department’s diplomatic channels after public news broke in June that the United States had gathered intelligence on Russia’s generosity, the officials said. One official called the reports “serious.” Another said Moscow responded by denying reports it had created or funded a generosity program to kill American troops.
These secret warnings are in contrast to what President Trump said about intelligence. In an interview earlier this week, Trump said he did not believe the honor was worth raising in a recent conversation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. “It was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly, it̵7;s an issue that a lot of people said was fake news,” Trump said in a recent interview.
The New York Times On June 26, he reported that Russia had secretly offered cash to the Taliban in exchange for the killing of US and coalition troops in Afghanistan, and that intelligence was included in the president’s daily briefing package in February. White House officials have repeatedly stated that intelligence has not been “tested.” Earlier, officials told The Daily Beast that there were differences in the intelligence and national security communities over intelligence and methods of gathering it.
Several U.S. officials, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and General Mark Millie, have publicly challenged the reports. During a July 9 congressional hearing, Esper said there was no evidence in the United States to suggest a direct link between Russian bounties and Americans killed on the ground.
The warnings to Russians underscore the seriousness with which Trump administration officials have responded to reports. They also question the extent to which officials’ understanding of intelligence is different from that of President Donald Trump.
It is unclear to what extent, if at all, the president was aware of these warnings. The White House and the National Security Council did not immediately comment on The Daily Beast. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment. Recently, Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News that the United States will “Respond to any threat, whether Iranians who use the Taliban or Russians, – he told. “We’ll make sure they know.”
In an interview with Axios this week, Trump insisted that intelligence “never came to my desk,” although it was widely reported that intelligence was included in the president’s daily briefing.
In an interview when asked about Russia’s long-standing efforts to provide weapons to Taliban forces, the president said: “Well, we supplied weapons when they were also fighting Russia. The Taliban, in Afghanistan … I’m just saying we did it too. “
The United States is currently in Vienna, Austria, for a meeting with the Russians on arms control – national security officials who say they could be a way to cooperate, although Russia has recently launched anti-satellite weapons into space. According to interviews with three former officials, past efforts to cooperate with Russia, including the exchange of counterterrorism intelligence and involvement in space negotiations, could be useful in protecting American interests there.
However, many current and former senior officials say they are unsure whether there is any issue on which the United States can work with Russia as a result of recent attempts by a Moscow-linked group to crack down on a study of the coronavirus vaccine in the United States and a country that spreads misinformation about coronaviruses.
At a hearing last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Secretary of State Bigun said that the years of Russian criminal activity “made progress virtually impossible … in any way, form or form.”