US intelligence agencies didn’t buy the Bountygate story, but the New York Times did. From Gareth Porter at thegrayzone.com:
Another New York Times Russiagate bombshell turns out to be a dud, as dodgy stories spun out by Afghan intelligence and exploited by the Pentagon ultimately failed to convince US intelligence agencies.
The New York Times dropped another Russiagate bombshell on June 26 with a sensational front-page story headlined, “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.” A predictable media and political frenzy followed, reviving the anti-Russian hysteria that has excited the Beltway establishment for the past four years.
But a closer look at the reporting by the Times and other mainstream outlets vying to confirm its coverage reveals another scandal not unlike Russiagate itself: the core elements of the story appear to have been fabricated by Afghan government intelligence to derail a potential US troop withdrawal from the country. And they were leaked to the Times and other outlets by US national security state officials who shared an agenda with their Afghan allies.
In the days following the story’s publication, the maneuvers of the Afghan regime and US national security bureaucracy encountered an unexpected political obstacle: US intelligence agencies began offering a series of low confidence assessments in the Afghan government’s self-interested intelligence claims, judging them to be highly suspect at best, and altogether bogus at worst.