The 2020 story was explosive. Vladimir Putin’s Russia was placing bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan. The liberal media went crazy. Congressional Democrats — and more than a few Republicans — held hearings, and declared that more oversight of Donald Trump was in the national security interest of the United States.
White House reporters, already fixated on the 2016 Russian collusion hoax, pushed press secretary Kayleigh McEnany daily over Trump’s lack of response to U.S. Intelligence reports and why Trump refused to confront Putin, if not take retaliatory action.
Just one problem.
As reported by Fox News on Friday, a senior Biden administration official said Thursday the intelligence community only had “low to moderate” confidence in the Russian bounty story, meaning it is unproven and possibly untrue, due to a reliance on “detainee reporting.” The revelation came as the administration announced a new series of sanctions against Russia for a host of reasons, but the bounty story was not among them.
Nolte: “If the Russia Bounty Hoax is not the final straw for those who still rely on the corporate media for news, you obviously enjoy being lied to.” https://t.co/WOce3nDSht
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 17, 2021
Here’s Politico’s White House correspondent Natasha Bertrand’s take.
NEW: Senior admin official tells reporters that the US intel community still only has low-moderate confidence in the intel about Russia placing bounties on US/coalition troops in Afghanistan, and for that reason none of today’s public actions against Russia are a response to that
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) April 15, 2021
Rather, the US sent messages to the Kremlin through private diplomatic and intelligence channels urging them to explain the bounties reports, which have been hard to corroborate bc they rely on detainee reporting, senior admin official said.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) April 15, 2021
So much word salad. Translation: There was never anything even close to substantive to give serious credence to the allegations. Yet? What a perfect story. A perfect opportunity, as it were, to hang another “Russia! Russia! Russia!” story around the neck of Donald Trump.
A vindicated McEnany responded accordingly — and kudos to her for doing so.
From the White House podium, I said this intelligence was “not verified,” “no consensus” & that the NYTimes & Dems were “irresponsibly politicizing”
NOW WE LEARN: “US Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops”
Wonder what other stories were FALSE https://t.co/Op2IMmccUk
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) April 15, 2021
McEnany: Reporting on Russian bounties on US troops was ‘egregious’
The NYT convinced military families the charge was true. The WaPo claimed it had verified the story. Biden frequently attack Trump on this.
Media ignored the intelligence serviceshttps://t.co/hMgOjVpgoz
— John R Lott Jr. (@JohnRLottJr) April 17, 2021
Independent investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald took it a step further on Saturday.
“Look at the examples I compiled here. Beyond the Russia Bounty debacle, the Treasury Dept on Thursday issued a *Press Release* with a 1-sentence assertion that had literally no evidence, yet look how many corporate media people treated it as Proven Truth.”
Glenn’s outstanding report: Journalists, Learning They Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace a New One
Look at the examples I compiled here. Beyond the Russia Bounty debacle, the Treasury Dept on Thursday issued a *Press Release* with a 1-sentence assertion that had literally no evidence, yet look how many corporate media people treated it as Proven Truth:https://t.co/Fgit1dkaor
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 17, 2021
And on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Friday, it was over before it began.
The Fox News host, who describes his program at the end of each episode as “the show that is the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink,” waged a scorched-earth campaign in his opening monologue against “all of the above.”
It was a beautiful thing to behold.
Tucker began with the necessary background.
“For five years, through his campaign for president, into his term in the White House, Donald Trump said often that he wanted American troops to leave Afghanistan.
“Finally, in his last months in office, Trump seemed ready to act on this; he told aides he was gonna pull the troops out. Then, on June 26 of last year, The New York Times stopped him from doing that.
“The Times ran a story saying that the American intel community had, quote, “concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan.”
“Vladimir Putin was murdering America soldiers,” Tucker mocked. “Obviously there was no leaving Afghanistan, now.”
“Anyone who suggested leaving Afghanistan would be bowing to Vladimir Putin. As a matter of principle, American troops had to stay in Afghanistan. And they did stay — they’re still there, today.”
“Official Washington went berserk over The New York Times story,” Carlson said. “Though the piece contained no actual facts.” Oops, yeah. And that is why this whole thing fizzled out before it ever got legitimately off the ground, despite those who so hoped otherwise.
Tucker then launched into CNN, thus beginning to make complete fools of the media, and even better, by using their own words against them. As I watched clips of MSNBC loon Nicole Wallace, CNN’s snippy narcissist Fredo Cuomo, and others, incinerate themselves, I found myself wondering how they can continue to do what they do regularly, without shame, only to get trashed by truth at some point down the line.
Never an apology. Never, “Gee, we really blew that one.” Never coming close to owning it.
Obviously, left-wing narrative trumps even a semblance of professional pride.