The Protection Division mentioned late Monday that there’s “no corroborating proof” to help the explosive New York Occasions report final week that mentioned the Russian army supplied bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
The report despatched shock waves via Washington and prompted President Trump to outright deny figuring out something in regards to the intel cited within the report.
“To this point, DOD has no corroborating proof to validate the latest allegations present in open-source experiences. Regardless, we all the time take the protection and safety of our forces in Afghanistan—and around the globe—most significantly and subsequently repeatedly undertake measures to forestall hurt from potential threats,” Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, mentioned in an announcement.
The New York Occasions, citing unnamed officers, reported Friday that it’s believed that some “Islamist militants” or “legal parts” collected payouts. The report identified that 20 Individuals have been killed there in 2019. It was not clear if any of these deaths have been the results of a bounty.
Robert O’Brien, the nationwide safety adviser, mentioned in an announcement that for the reason that allegations within the report weren’t verified by the intelligence group, Trump has not been briefed on the matter.
“Nonetheless, the administration, together with the Nationwide Safety Council employees, have been getting ready ought to the scenario warrant motion,” he mentioned. He mentioned that Trump’s high precedence is the safety of Individuals and the protection of the women and men who serve within the army.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the rating member of the Home International Affairs Committee, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger have been within the briefing led by Director of Nationwide Intelligence John Ratcliffe, White Home chief of employees Mark Meadows and nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien. McCaul and Kinzinger mentioned in an announcement that lawmakers have been informed “there may be an ongoing evaluate to find out the accuracy of those experiences.”
“If the intelligence evaluate course of verifies the experiences, we strongly encourage the Administration to take swift and critical motion to carry the Putin regime accountable,” they mentioned.
The White Home has maintained that neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence was briefed on such intelligence. “This doesn’t converse to the benefit of the alleged intelligence however to the inaccuracy of the New York Occasions story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany mentioned in an announcement.
A White Home official informed Fox Information on Monday that Trump has now been briefed on the difficulty. It’s unclear precisely when this briefing passed off, however the official says it passed off someday “after the NY Occasions reported on unverified intelligence.”
The assertion is at odds with the White Home, which insisted that Trump has nonetheless not been briefed.
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Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow on the Basis for Protection of Democracies, a assume tank, informed the Wall Avenue Journal that “Moscow’s willingness to embrace the Taliban overtly and publically dates again a number of years” and he wouldn’t be shocked if there may be reality to the report.
Fox Information’ Andrew O’Reilly and the Related Press contributed to this report