A few months before the 2020 Presidential election, politicians, mainstream news outlets, other Democrats pushed a fake story about Russian officials secretly placing bounties on the heads of American soldiers. This has since then been debunked, but that didn’t stop them from pushing the false narrative.
Many Americans recall reports that Russia was placing bounties on the heads of US soldiers, resulting in outcry from pundits and politicians during the 2020 Presidential campaign. Reports suggested that the Russians were paying the Taliban to kill Americans. The New York Times reported “American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.”
Since then, it has been made clear that the stories was false, and the news organizations responsible for disseminating the false information have had to correct their reports. Despite President Donald Trump calling the story “fake news,” and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany telling Americans that the intelligence community did not have much confidence in the information, the Washington Post gave the Presidents denial “4 Pinocchios.”
On April 15, 2021, the Washington Post updated their “Four Pinocchios” article to add that the “Biden administration officials disclosed that the U.S. intelligence community has “low to moderate confidence” in earlier reports that Russian intelligence officers placed bounties on U.S. troops.” The New York Times would also admit that the intelligence community assessed “with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019, and perhaps earlier, including through financial incentives and compensation.” In July, the top general of U.S. Central Command said that he couldn’t “find that there was a causative link” to the intelligence, adding that “there just there wasn’t enough there.”
Despite the facts, mainstream news figures and politicians continued to push the false information to the American people. Even Biden White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted “taking a moment to re-up the fact that @realDonaldTrump knew about Russia offering bounties to Taliban to take out US troops in Afghanistan and still defends Putin. his undervaluing contribution of US troops not just horrific–but also dangerous.” Joe Biden himself pushed the lie during a debate with President Trump. Shortly after the debate, former President Barack Obama tweeted about the fake story as if it wasn’t misinformation.
In spite of this, Joe Biden continued telling the bounties story, charging during a debate with Donald Trump that “I don’t understand why this President is unwilling to take on Putin when he’s actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.” Barack Obama, a few days later, thundered: “When Russia puts bounties on the heads of our soldiers in Afghanistan, the commander-in-chief can’t be MIA: missing in action”