There's been huge efforts to validate The New York Times "bombshell" that wasn't — concerning its summer reporting that Russia secretly offered bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan.
Two months ago the Pentagon vowed to get to the bottom of it, launching a review of all intelligence and sources which might provide corroboration. And now at the end of that investigation Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command overseeing the war in Afghanistan, says the detailed investigation found no corroboration of the story.
Recall that from the start the whole thing smelled like a dramatic and desperate last ditch effort to revive the failed Russiagate narrative but in a different form. Multiple intelligence agency heads voiced their immediate skepticism in the wake of the claims linked to unnamed intelligence sources in the CIA.
Gen. McKenzie, told NBC News: “It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me,” adding that, “We continue to look for that evidence. I just haven’t seen it yet.”
Every single time. https://t.co/8jc9bCZPYf— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) September 14, 2020
The new NBC report, published Monday, finds further:
A U.S. military official familiar with the intelligence added that after a review of the intelligence around each attack against Americans going back several years, none have been tied to any Russian incentive payments.
The suggestion of a Russian bounty program began, another source directly familiar with the matter said, with a raid by CIA paramilitary officers that captured Taliban documents describing Russian payments.
So there it is: the Pentagon did a detailed examination of each and every attack on American troops going back several years and found nothing.
Two tweets from today. I wonder which will be spread further???? pic.twitter.com/y3NCBGmtoR— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 14, 2020
But it's yet another instance of the initial unchecked and unverified sensationalist claims from deep within the bowels of the Russia-obsessed mainstream going viral. But don't expect for a moment that this new Pentagon finding that essentially 'there simply no evidence!' will receive the same exposure and circulation.
But that's how propaganda is supposed to work after all.