Field photo of U.S. Troops (Operation Enduring Freedom) in Afghanistan - Creator: TSgt. Efren Lopez | Credit: 5th Bde., 2nd Inf. Information extracted from IPTC Photo Metadata.

Trump Threw U.S. Troops Under The Bus For A Second Shot At A Nobel Prize

by Richard Cameron


Trump Threw U.S. Troops Under The Bus For A Second Shot At A Nobel Prize

In recent days it has surfaced that (impeached) president Donald Trump was informed that Russia placed a bounty on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan in early 2019.  This is according to interviews with members of U.S. intelligence agencies conducted by reporters with the New York Times and the Associated Press.  

The Times reporters were told by their sources that an outline of the arrangement between operatives of the GRU, Organization of the Main Intelligence Administration, (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie, Russia’s cabinet level directorate of intelligence Agencies) and the Haqqani network – the leading terror network / militant group within the Taliban, was disclosed to Trump in a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB), on February 27, 2019. 

U.S. Military Intelligence learned of the Russian effort to add incentive to Taliban militants to kill American soldiers, primarily from debriefings of Taliban detainees captured in the field.  The officials that the Associated Press spoke with, detailed that the accounts of the Russian operation, were consistent among Taliban agents throughout Afghanistan. 

Not only was Trump informed of the activities of the GRU, but the officials who spoke to the AP, indicated that various options to respond to the actions originating in the Kremlin, were set aside and not pursued.

Trump’s former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, author of a recently released tell all book on his interactions with and perceptions of Trump’s conduct in the Oval Office, told colleagues within the administration that he personally had briefed Trump in March of last year, outlining the activities of Russia in Afghanistan.

The Associated Press reports that “the classified assessment of Russian bounties was the sole purpose of the [Trump-Bolton] meeting.” 

Needless to say, Trump, Vice President Pence and pliant, likely implicated cabinet officials are in unison, in their denial of having ever been informed about what Trump characterizes as the “the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians.” 

Trump spokeshole, Kayleigh McEnany maintained on Tuesday that Mr Trump was never briefed on the issue of Russian payments for U.S. forces in body bags and claimed that “rogue intelligence officers” were behind the leak to the New York Times.

Asked if she was implying that the reports were the consequence of a plot by the intelligence community to sabotage Trump, McEnany responded, “It very possibly could be.”

The Pentagon itself, is handling the intelligence in a fashion that strongly indicates that they assume the facts support Russian aggression.

An investigation is being pursued to establish whether the arrangement between the GRU and members of the Haqqani network – a large and well coordinated contingent of the Taliban, was directly tied to the deaths of three U.S. Marines who were killed when a bomb rigged vehicle exploded as their transport returned to Bagram Airbase in April 2019.

Wreckage of U.S. armored troop transport in Afghanistan in April 2019
Afghan security forces gather at the site of Monday’s suicide attack near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Three American service members and a U.S. contractor were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday near the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, the U.S. forces said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

The Defense Department identified the men as Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, of Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York – infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit headquartered out of Garden City, New York.

Marines killed in Taliban bomb attack April 2019
These images provided by the U.S. Marine Corps show, from left, Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pa., Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Del., and Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, N.Y. All three were killed on Monday, April 8, 2019, when a roadside bomb hit their convoy near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
Marine Corps | AP

Hendriks’ father, Erik, told the Associated Press that even a rumor of Russian bounties should have been immediately addressed.

“If this was kind of swept under the carpet as to not make it a bigger issue with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled when they knew this, I lost all respect for this administration and everything.”

The dates of the intel briefings to Trump, are significant in that they fit in the timeline of Trump’s request for a meeting with high ranking representatives of the Taliban at Camp David in September of 2019.

There is no room for doubt that Trump had been informed of the markers placed on U.S. and allied troops by Russian operatives under the approval of Russian president Vladimir Putin

There is also strong reason to suspect that a motive existed in Trump’s mind, to disregard the information he’d been presented – the possibility of a second bite at the apple that eluded him in his personal diplomatic effort with North Korea’s authoritarian tyrant, Kim Jong-un – a Nobel Peace Prize.

Trump’s critics in the ranks of retired military leaders and members of the diplomatic corps, see treachery in Trump’s dealings with Putin, when Trump knew or should have known of the operation targeting American servicemen. 

Among those in the foreign service community, former Deputy Secretary of State, Brett McGurk, not only finds Trump not credible, but finds his conduct to be patently treacherous:

Ms McEnany, it is evident, did not fully grasp the implications of her statement to reporters in response to questions concerning whether the president reads his intelligence reports, saying he “does read and also consumes intelligence verbally.”  McEnany added, “This president I’ll tell you is the most informed person on planet earth when it comes to the threats that we face.” 

Here’s the problem. Let’s give all of this the most generous interpretation conceivable. Even though, for the sake of the argument, one might concede that it is possible, although extremely unlikely given the fact pattern that is emerging, that Trump was briefed on the threat, but that Trump was spacing out when he was told of it – this does not exonerate the (impeached) president on the question of abdication of leadership. 

If Trump was merely distracted and displaying attention deficit disorder, he is at the very minimum, extremely unfit for the role of Commander in Chief and dangerously so. There is no positive spin on this, available. 

In a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA chief Gina Haspel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), stated, “The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed.”

This is trending to be so radioactive that even the normally quite pliant and subservient Republican members of Congress are finding it impossible to stroll past. House member Liz Cheney (R-WY), daughter of former Vice President, Dick Cheney, yesterday tweeted the demand for answers to the following basic questions:         

“1. Why weren’t the president or vice president briefed? … 2. Who did know and when? 3. What has been done in response to protect our forces & hold Putin accountable?”

Why, who, when and what, indeed.

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