U.S. intelligence agencies reported Monday that the Iranian regime paid bounties to a Taliban-backed Haqqani terrorist network to execute at least six attacks on U.S. military installations in Afghanistan, according to CNN.
The intelligence community identified the link between Iran and the terrorist group in December after an attack on the Bagram Air Force Base killed two civilians and injured more than 70 others, CNN reported.
Two Trump administration officials speaking to CNN said the bounties were the catalyst for the White House decision to take out Iranian Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani by drone in January ,who Trump suggested was plotting subsequent assaults on U.S. forces in the region.
CNN’s Monday revelation comes weeks after reports from the New York Times of Russian bounties paid on U.S. troops based on anonymous leaks, giving further ammunition to Democrats breathlessly attempting to revive claims that the American president is a compromised Russian agent.
White House Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany said in June that a lack of consensus existed within the intelligence community over the validity of the charges against the Kremlin placing bounties on members of the American military. McEnany asserted however, that if consensus was reached, the Trump administration was prepared to take action.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, and Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, both implied U.S. intelligence reports and military commanders on the ground did not believe the reported Russian bounty program was a “serious problem” and had not led to the deaths of any U.S. soldiers.
“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,” McKenzie said.
Russia denied the allegations.
In July, Trump told Axios he never raised the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a recent phone call.