That said, the Times reporting is broadly accurate. I have moderate-high confidence that illuminating the GRU operation has been best enabled by very closely guarded CIA reporting. However, the other keystone Russia-collection agency, the NSA, appears to have been unable to directly corroborate the CIA’s reporting with their own signal collection efforts. This means that the U.S. currently lacks a direct operational link from the plot to the Kremlin (which would figure because communicating with Moscow would trigger attention from various U.S. intelligence capabilities) been established. Whether the Taliban have actually carried out any attacks at the GRU’s specific behest is also unclear.

This context would explain why the Office of the Director of National Intelligence didn’t add the GRU cash-for-killing plot into its briefings for President Trump. To make it into the presidential daily brief, the daily intelligence product produced by the DNI for the president and other top officials, intelligence reporting must address an imminent concern or be assessed as very reliable (“high confidence”). The DNI doesn’t want to report things to Trump that it’s not very confident about already.

Moreover, Trump’s presidential daily briefs will have previously included reporting on GRU operations targeting American interests in Afghanistan.