Officials told the Times that the time and highlight of the memo, which was said to contain no new details, implied that it was aimed at strengthening the government’s efforts to keep the news quiet. Former national security officials told the newspaper that the memo’s depiction showed that it might be influenced by political intentions.
The memo stated that the CIA and the National Counterterrorism Center had evaluated with “moderate confidence” that a Russian military intelligence unit GRU offered the prize, two officials explained the contents of the memo to the newspaper.
But the National Security Agency and other members of the intelligence community determined that they did not have sufficient evidence to reach this level of certainty and thus lacked confidence in the determination, the two officials told the newspaper. A third official familiar with the memo told the Times that the CIA’s level of confidence in the conclusion was higher than other institutions.
A spokesman for the DNI office declined to comment. CNN also reaches the CIA.
The Times reported Friday that the memo was said to have gone through intelligence behind the agency’s conclusion. These include reports of meetings between Russian military intelligence officers and leaders of criminal networks with links to the Taliban, about GRU accounts that transfer money to the network and arrested lower-level network members who confirm Russia’s use of gifts for spurring such killings.
However, two officials who elaborated on the memo in more detail told the Times that the memo emphasized the lack of evidence about what GRU officials and network leaders said during the meeting – and thus could not ensure that Russia explicitly extended the bounty for the death of American troops.
It was also stressed that the NSA did not have surveillance records of accounts claimed to belong to captured members or clear evidence that the money transferred was to pay for gifts, officials told the Times.
The memo also stated that the Defense Intelligence Agency did not have evidence that directly connected the alleged gift offer with the Kremlin, the officials told the newspaper.