By Duncan Smith

It’s official: The New York Times is the media equivalent of a dumpster fire.

Well, okay, it’s actually been ‘official’ now for some time.

But the paper reinforced its ‘official dumpster fire status’ again on Saturday with yet another fake news report involving the Trump administration and Mother Russia.

The Times, citing ‘official U.S. intelligence sources,’ claimed that Russian military units were attempting to pay bounties to Taliban fighters who killed Americans.

Only, nearly everyone involved in the story says it’s complete BS.

Townhall reports:

According to the anonymous source that spoke to the Times, the Russians intending “to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.” 

The source claimed that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were briefed on the situation and the National Security Council discussed it back in March. 

Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the country had no diplomatic complaints on record. 

'If someone makes them, we'll respond,' Peskov told the Times.

In the Times’ piece, the Taliban’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the terrorist organization had no “such relations with any intelligence agency.” He labeled the accusation as an attempt to “defame” the group. 

'These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless — our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources,' Mujahid explained. 'That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don't attack them.'

What’s also noteworthy — and a gigantic red flag — is that the meat of the Times’ story provided almost no details:

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the delicate intelligence and internal deliberations. They said the intelligence had been treated as a closely held secret, but the administration expanded briefings about it this week — including sharing information about it with the British government, whose forces are among those said to have been targeted.

The intelligence assessment is said to be based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals. The officials did not describe the mechanics of the Russian operation, such as how targets were picked or how money changed hands. It is also not clear whether Russian operatives had deployed inside Afghanistan or met with their Taliban counterparts elsewhere.

“So this information is based on an anonymous source yet there are no details about how the operation took place, what American troops were targeted, how meetings were conducted or even how the Taliban received their so-called payments. Why are there no details?” Townhall noted.

Needless to say, President Trump took to social media to once again call out the Times for yet another phony “fake news” story (that will never be ‘fact-checked’ by the new speech Nazis Twitter is using to censor the president).

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe also put out a statement denying this.

And former DNI Richard Grenell also blasted that Left-wing kook, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) for lapping up the Times’ story.

Newspapers report. We get that. But there has to be corroboration for such potentially explosive stories like this one. To publish such claims without corroboration is dangerous and, obviously, self-serving.

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