tv Washington Journal Katie Bo Williams CSPAN July 2, 2020 3:11pm-3:31pm EDT
the russians are quite often surprised that our intelligence as good as they are. the suggestion being they might have thought they could sort of this, kind of mess with us, make our lives in afghanistan a little harder. it.get away with you know, that the united states might not find out about it. russia has been following a certain amount of
really to the taliban for years. ind the of -- kind of in the support of small arms, financial support. that's something the american intelligence community and the in tary operating afghanistan has known for a long time. know, from that perspective, this is certainly that.alation of but it's sort of another data point on a pattern that was under way.d of or that was already something doing.e russians were now, if you go to the strategic level, not the, ok, small, like, yeah, let's mess with the americans in afghanistan, if you look at the level, things get a little bit more murky. less think there's a lot consensus about what russia's sort of overall plan is. they trying to bog down the united states in in such a way we're going to continue to stay, to resources,, to spend
to spend our focus on afghanistan? the nversely, do they want americans out of afghanistan and they're hoping something like this is going to put more donald l pressure on trump who already wants to get the u.s. out of afghanistan to along? speed the process there's also some analyses who essentially is 2018 e for an incident in hundreds of mercenaries, i should say, russian groups that s shadow parra military -- aramilitary force that they want -- americans, of course, killed hundreds of russian when they in syria attacked a base where american soldiers were present. this is s some talk putin looking for revenge for that.
against the soviets and the oviets were operating -- offering weapons to the north vietnamese against the united states. so we've seen this -- we've seen this before and it's certainly a deeply, deeply tense moment. i think at this point what you're hearing from a lot of nalyses is we can't -- we have sort of notoriously bad and inside t view into the of vladimir putin's mind. aking some of their strategic asassment -- assessment sort of a speculation. host: democra 202-748-8920 for
democrats. bo williams, tie he russians wouldn't -- the taliban wouldn't need a bounty program to begin with. guest: i heard that in recent senior om a former intelligence officials that i a few days ago who recently returned to the region and had this experience here and that person pointed out exactly that. being, you know, how is the u.s. intelligence -- and i think this what makes this a difficult case -- how is the u.s. intelligence community a ng to definitively prove given death of a u.s. service member would not have happened bounty?ot been for the that's not to question the offered weren't being or paid but would that death not otherwise have happen?
very tricky to prove in an operating environment that's difficult to gather intelligence as afghanistan is. you know, there's a lot of players on the ground. we are -- we understand from the public reporting that intelligence officials have both intelligence human which is information they gathered from interrogations of as a ed militants as well certain amount of intelligence. hey have these intercepted -- intercepted money transfers. so this do have -- so they do in a way.eceipts you know, whether or not they're able to link those together in pictureay that paints a of like this particular attack wouldn't have otherwise have think is one of the ones being debated behind the now.s right this is sort of a conjecture on my point. but it would not surprise me causes of the he public debate we're seeing right now about whether or not the or lligence was reliable
whether or not the confidence level in the intelligence was that it gh to govern was appropriate to brief the president. host: which was a piece made by roberto brine and others what reaches the president and what has to happen with the evidence the intelligence to actually reach the president. now he's saying a c.i.a. officer it wasn't, you know, that much information to bring to the president. together for us exactly as far as how much information reaches the president what it takes? we certainly -- not every tactical threat report ground -- like in a combat zone -- where -- as your and others rightly pointed out, the taliban were actively trying to kill american soldiers. not every report kind of at that level necessarily makes it up to the president. ut there's sort of two tracks here. one of them is, ok, well, did intelligent -- intelligence about these bounties increase a risk to american
soldiers on the ground in afghanistan? and the question is, what does t say about the u.s. relationship with russia? and i think that's where it ecomes a little more difficult to understand if the intelligence did not make its way up to trump, particularly this was a moment in which he was engaging with was mir putin, in which he obviously actively calling for ussia to be readmitted to the g-7, this group of -- the economies histicated n the world that russia was ejected from after the an xation of -- annexation of crimea. those are the questions circling. as a strict matter of fact, correct.nd others are not every piece of intelligence suggesting, ok, u.s. service here are in some level increased risk needs to go to the president. former - as that same senior intelligence official put it to me, if the president won't based off of n
this information, he might not need to know it. think very ld i reasonably argue there were made -- decisions to be made and that's the point taken by many democrats in congress. and certainly by many, many former national security and intelligence officials that seen speaking publicly and on the record about their experiences with briefing the president. host: we'll go to el monte, alifornia, that's where bruce katie bo ats, for williams. your comment. caller: i'll take my comment off the air. president has -- t's like he's in bed with the russians because he's a barr.ile with bill that's why they killed jeffrey epstein.
host: ok. we'll go to mary, texas. republicans line. ahead. you're next. caller: is it me? host: if you're mary from dallas. caller: i didn't hear the name. ok. i was wondering if this would be classified information. sn't it a crime to leak classified information and jail time to be considered? also, i want to know if it ould be considered propaganda from the taliban or whoever to out?rump guest: mary, you raise a couple of excellent points. yes.first question, when this intelligence was first making its way up to the white house level, this is one of the closely guarded secrets in american intelligence. certainly without question. yes, it is a crime to leak classified information, which is risk that sources who choose to speak to journalists for a hole variety of reasons
certainly take when they make that decision. your -- to your second question about propaganda, yes. i think one of the -- one of the early questions that intelligence officials would have been asking when they were looking at kind of the early about this -- about this questions e of the they would almost certainly have this sking themselves, is a plan? is this a form of misinformation from the russians or taliban to chasing our own tails to waste time, waste resources? pretty standard and something officials would have asking. i guess that's to -- that gets us back to the same central is the we have which degree of confidence that the intelligence community came to with this information. williams, we had calls about the actual number of deaths of american soldiers we had in afghanistan and
whether there is validity to not.bounty story or guest: from what we know of public reporting, there is one ncident that resulted in the death of three marines last year 2019.il of an american convoy was attacked bagram, whichk to base in afghanistan which three were killed. particular r scrutiny by intelligence officials to try and see if they definitive link between the bounty program and that death. mentioned before, that's going to be one of the biggest challenges that officials either have faced, if they haven't already reached a conclusion, or facing in an ongoing investigation which is, how do ou essentially prove it counterfactual? how do you prove that articular -- that particular
attack was motivated solely by the incent fbt of the -- bounty that the wouldn't have happened otherwise? that will be one of the big sticking points going forward in questions that reporters like me and lawmakers n the hill will be throwed in on. host: we saw lawmakers get briefed this week. eight, of gang of leaders, will go to the white house for more briefings. i know you won't be there to that.ly cover what do they get exposed to as information? guest: that's the big question. this is the first time that lawmakers democratic will be informed by the c.i.a. director and the director of the n.s.a. they are going to be looking for exactly the kind of questions we're asking right now. how many deaths? is the intelligence? linking those deaths to the program? one of the complaints that we heard from house democrats coming out of the original white earlier this week, which was conducted by and of staff mark meadows
a few other white house officials as opposed to the real national the intelligence community was they felt like they didn't receive any facts. received a lot of sort of assurances that -- they the ved assurances that president knew about this and we behaved accordingly and left questions about what the u.s. intelligence community actually knows about happened on the ground. so i think they're going to be that.g very hard for the other thing that makes this briefing consequential, at some the development of the intelligence community's assessment about this bounty during at some point the development, there was apparently some dispute in between the c.i.a. and the strength of the some portion of that intelligence. that's hould be clear, very normal. the intelligence community is made up of a lot of different that has different strengths, different weaknesses,
different prerogatives. n.s.a. really specializes in signal intelligence and the intelligence.n here's how much confidence we can put in this assessment? with the this before 2017 intelligence assessment about russian interference in the 2016 election. n.s.a. had only moderate confidence that trump was putin's preferred candidate the other agencies involved in the assessment had high confidence. thing thatthat's one lawmakers are going to be really digging into. this t point did confidence level dispute between occur?wo agencies was it substantive? has it since been hammered out essentially, because what we're from the white house, at least publicly, is there's no consensus amongst the community.e what i'm hearing from lawmakers who have been briefed on portions of this information is i should ve, and specify democratic lawmakers, hey believe the white house is
overplaying the dissent in etween -- between n.s.a. and c.i.a., between these three-letter agencies, in order to cast out the information and reason why action asn't taken sooner or why briefed. trump wasn't host: laguna beach, you're next up. interestshat american are served in having brave young american men and women killed in afghanistan? and if we weren't there, wouldn't the afghans be fighting russians? thank you. guest: that's a really important question and one that think you hit on something that has become a central for a n issue in 2020 reason. people are asking exactly that. speak to senior military leaders, you know, like when i travel with secretary jim mattis or -- then secretary jim
the current chairman oint chief of staffs, mark milley, it's to pretent attacks on the homeland. the -- prevent attacks on the homeland. the americans is not allowing al who would then use it as a safe haven to launch attacks on america like we saw 9/11. that's the basic argument is don't -- stay over there now, fight over there to keep the there as opposed to allowing terrorists to bring united ht back to the states as they did in 2001. obviously, there's a lot of about that view. you have lawmakers, very say, ent lawmakers who look, we've been there long enough. degraded -- iently we've sufficiently degraded the ort of capabilities that allowed -- did allow al qaeda to carry out that attack in the place. if we need to we'll go back in. the intelligence will help us something is coming.
we've essentially gotten better what's going on compared to 2001. that's an active area of debate at the you can look president and see that he comes down very much on the side of long, this here too isn't working, we need to just get out and we'll just watch and we'll hit g happens them harder than we've ever hit before is the sort of language uses to detract the afghanistan debate. i think you asked the right question. host: i want you to listen a pompeo, hisrom mike assessment of the story and giving it his context and we'll get you to respond to it. secretary pompeo: the fact that engaged in are afghanistan in a way that's adverse to the united states is new.ng by the way. some members of congress out there suggesting they are appalled by this, they saw the same intelligence we saw. it will be interesting to ask they did when they saw
whatever intelligence they are referring to. would have access to this information as well. not just the intelligence committees, by the way. that.ore broadly than we took this seriously. appropriately. the russians have been selling small arms to put americans at 10 years. for we've objected to it, to your point. hen i meet with my russian counterparts i talk to them each time. stop this. we think we have a not perfect somewhat overlapping objective in afghanistan. it's on their doorstep. were routed in afghanistan. they have an objective there, the risk of e terrorism there. o, yes, maybe not every time, but with great frequency, when i speak to my russian counterparts we talk about afghanistan. about the fact we don't want them engaged in this. but it's -- just so everybody can -- ♪