Russia placed a bounty on the heads of US troops in Afghanistan, and Trump chose not to act after being briefed on the matter, according to a report Friday by The New York Times.
The White House on Saturday pushed back against the story, claiming that “neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence.”
But former national security officials questions say that if this is true, it exposes huge failings in the Trump administration’s national security apparatus and want to know why the president would have been kept in the dark.
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After an explosive report claimed that a Russian military intelligence unit in Afghanistan offered a bounty to Taliban-linked militias to kill US and coalition soldiers, the questions critics want answers to is ‘what did the president know’, and ‘why didn’t he act?’
In a statement Saturday evening, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that neither President Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed on the intelligence.
The New York Times story on Friday claimed the president had been made aware of the matter in March, but chose not to act.
“The CIA Director, National Security Advisor, and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence…The United States receives thousands of intelligence reports a day, and they are subject to strict scrutiny,” McEnany said in a statement.
But former national security officials question the plausibility of the denial and say that even if true, it exposes huge failings in the Trump administration.
David Priess, a CIA agent during Bill Clinton and George W Bush’s presidency, delivered the President’s Daily Briefing to top intelligence officials after 9/11.
The briefing is a daily summary of plots and emerging threats to US national security across the globe.
In a thread on Twitter, he laid out the various possibilities, noting the White House was not disputing the truth of the intelligence. He concluded that if the president was not made aware of it constituted a failing by the national intelligence community. If he had, it represented a grave failing by the president himself.
“The White House statement addressing this issue earlier today, which denied such a briefing occurred, was accurate. The New York Times reporting, and all other subsequent news reports about such an alleged briefing are inaccurate.” (2/2)
— Office of the DNI (@ODNIgov) June 28, 2020
“Maybe the assessment was briefed only sub-POTUS because it was judged not to merit his attention. (This would be at odds with reporting just now by the same NYT trio—that it was, in fact, in the President’s Daily Brief.) If so, shame on the system,” he wrote.
Maybe POTUS was, in fact, orally briefed on it—but White House officials have decided to lie about it, perhaps in a weak attempt to avoid the logical next question: Why hasn’t the commander in chief responded to such a grave development?
If so, …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Politics