Nightly News   |  April 29, 2013

Karzai confirms CIA dropped off millions in cash

The CIA has given Karzai’s government $300,000 a month for years, delivered in briefcases, and sometimes even plastic shopping bags, in order to cover off-the-book operations and build loyalty.  NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> throughout the past decade of deaths and injuries to americans fighting in afghanistan, including a cost to this nation of more than $600 billion, americans have been told our point man there is the popularly elected hamid karzai and we have been reassured he has u.s. interests at heart. well, that took a blow today when we woke up to the news that karzai has been receiving bags of cash from the cia among others. that would be u.s. taxpayer money. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell has been following this story and is also in the d.c. bureau tonight. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. somewhat incredibly hamid karzai today confirmed that the cia has been dropping off bags of cash at his national security office for years. he says it isn't millions. it's only $300,000 a month. do the math. if you multiply that over ten years it adds up to $36 million by karzai 's own account. the new york times was first to report the payments today and said the cash was delivered sometimes in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags . u.s. officials say the money is used to buy the loyalty of warlords and cover off the book operations. we checked with the white house , state department and cia , none of whom would deny the report. in washington speak that goes to a confirmation. i asked one official if payments of cash had, in fact, been delivered every day to karzai 's office. he said, well, we never said it was every day. one interesting footnote, by the way, iran had also been delivering payments to karzai until about a year ago when tehran cut off karzai supposedly because he was too close to the u.s.

>> andrea mitchell in our d.c.