Axios: Trump administration will declassify unconfirmed intelligence on Chinese bounties
Two senior administration officials told Axios that the intelligence was included with President Trump’s briefing on Dec. 17 and Trump was verbally briefed on the matter by national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
Administration officials from multiple agencies are attempting to corroborate the information. If the intelligence is confirmed, tensions between China and the US could escalate. However, if the intelligence is confirmed untrue, questions will be raised about the motive behind the sources who reported it.
Andrew Small, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund who specializes in China-Afghanistan affairs, told Axios that it seems “incongruous” that China would take such an action.
Small said that pursuing peace in Afghanistan is “one of the extremely rare areas where the US and China still have a willingness to work together on an area of importance.”
“They know the drawdown is taking place. We’re not in the context where anything else needs to happen to US troops in Afghanistan. There is no reason to create additional pressure on US forces,” Small added.
This report comes months after uncorroborated intelligence came out that Russia had offered bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Trump received criticism earlier this year when he admitted he had not confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin about the unconfirmed intelligence reports that Russia had been offering bribes to the Taliban to kill American soldiers.