CENTCOM Chief Is Latest To Deny NY Times Russian Bounties "Bombshell"

The Russian bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan story which originated in The New York Times has already been memory holed with warp speed. 

This also after an intelligence memo emerged late last week also casting more doubts on the whole story. It was also revealed that the NSA had from the beginning strongly dissented from what was considered scant firm intelligence; the Pentagon also said it had no evidence that US troops were ever targeted based on Russia's GRU paying Taliban militants bounties. 

And now no less than the CENTCOM chief has weighed in to say that it's bogus. Commander of US Central Command, Marine Gen. Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, emphasized to reporters on Tuesday his extreme doubts: "I found it very worrisome, I just didn't find that there was a causative link there," he said of the NY Times' reporting.

Gen. Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie, commander of US Central Command. Getty Images/AFP

The Associated Press and ABC quoted him as saying:  

"The intel case wasn't proved to me — it wasn't proved enough that I'd take it to a court of law — and you know that's often true in battlefield intelligence."

He further said that while indeed the Taliban has been an ever-present threat in Afghanistan, he's seen nothing to suggest that Russia was paying the Islamist group to target American personnel.

The other central piece to the original anonymously sourced June 26 Times story which unraveled quickly was the charge that Trump himself was briefed on the matter and did nothing.

The story even flatly asserted at the beginning: "The Trump administration has been deliberating for months about what to do about a stunning intelligence assessment."

Since then, multiple top intelligence and military officials have contradicted this, saying the lack of consensus as well as skepticism over what were unvetted claims kept it out of the president's daily verbal briefing.