US President Donald Trump was told this month that China “wanted to pay terrorists to attack American forces in Afghanistan”.
According to The New York Times, Mr Trump was briefed about US intel reports that China offered to pay bounties to people in Afghanistan who attacked US soldiers there.
The Times reported on Wednesday that that information, however, “was uncorroborated”.
It’s not clear whether the information from the US intelligence community shows that China paid any bounties – or whether any attacks on Americans happened.
US intel officials gather huge amounts of information, much of which turns out to be misleading or false, per the newspaper.
The claims of Chinese bounties comes months after Mr Trump said the CIA’s assessment that Russia paid for attacks such as these a “hoax”.
In June, it was reported that US intelligence officials said Russia offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan.
Mr Trump denied he was ever briefed on the intelligence, as it didn’t rise to his level, and called the assessments a “hoax”.
According to The Times, which first reported the news in June, Mr Trump was given a “written briefing” in February that said the Russian military paid bounties to militants to kill US troops.
One source said the information about Russia bounties on US troops was included in late February, while the other said February 27 specifically.
However, a top US general in the Middle East later cast doubt on the Russia-Taliban bounty story, saying the intelligence was “worrisome” but didn’t believe it had led to the death of any US troops.
“I found it very worrisome, I just didn’t find that there was a causative link there,” US Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters in July.
“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. You see a lot of indicators, many of them are troubling many of them you act on, but in this case there just there wasn’t enough there.”
He added, “I sent the intelligence guys back to continue to dig on it, and I believe they’re continuing to dig right now, but I just didn’t see enough there to tell me that the circuit was closed in that regard.”
Mr Trump had earlier said the intelligence on the alleged bounties offered by Russian spies to Taliban militants wasn’t credible.
Russia has also denied its involvement, describing the report as “baseless and anonymous” accusations.
President-elect Joe Biden slammed Mr Trump earlier this year calling the President’s apparent inaction a “betrayal”.
“His entire presidency has been a gift to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, but this is beyond the pale,” Mr Biden said in June.
“It’s betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way. It’s a betrayal of every single American family with a loved one serving in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas.”
As noted by Axios, news of the China intel report comes weeks before Mr Trump’s presidency ends.
Mr Trump is not believed to have discussed the reports with China’s President Xi Jinping.
The President said he did not bring up the bounties topic with Mr Putin during a phone call earlier this year.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission