According to the Times, Pompeo’s warning is the first known rebuke from a senior American official to Russia over the bounties program, and it runs counter to President Donald Trump’s insistence that the intelligence from US government agencies over the matter is a “hoax.”
The action indicates that Pompeo believes the intelligence warranted a stern message, the Times reported.
According to the article, Pompeo delivered the warning during a telephone call on July 13 with Lavrov.
According to the Times, Pompeo made it clear to Lavrov that the US was strongly opposed to such payouts. The official speaking to the Times said the secretary of state had been livid about what the intelligence had said about the bounties.
The Times reported that the US officials who spoke about Pompeo’s call did so on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Pompeo and the State Department have been careful not to reveal any details of actions he might have taken based on the intelligence over the bounties. That is perhaps because of both the classified material and to avoid potential fury from Trump, who has strongly dismissed reports of the intelligence and has tried to cultivate a friendship with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, the Times reported.
This comes after reports emerged in June that Russia had offered money to the Taliban to kill US soldiers.
However, both Trump and Russia have denounced the reports as lies.
Trump said last week in an interview with Axios that the bounty report is “an issue that many people said was fake news.”
He later told reporters that the report was “another Russia hoax.”