White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a press conference on Monday that there is no intelligence community “consensus” to confirm the allegations that the Russian government offered bounties to Taliban-linked militias.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that a Russian military spy unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militias for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Roughly 22 U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan in 2019.
President Donald Trump disputed the report on Sunday, claiming that he, Vice President Mike Pence, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were not briefed about the report.
The president criticized the New York Times for quoting an “anonymous source.”
“Probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax,” the president remarked.
…Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump Administration. With Corrupt Joe Biden & Obama, Russia had a field day, taking over important parts of Ukraine – Where’s Hunter? Probably just another phony Times hit job, just like their failed Russia Hoax. Who is their “source”?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2020
McEnany said during the press conference that senior intelligence officers confirmed that Trump and Pence were not informed of the report.
“The CIA director, the National Security Adviser, and the chief of staff can all confirm that neither the president nor the vice president were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence,” McEnany said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, as well as a spokesperson for the Taliban, denied the Times report.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the report “clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists of American intelligence, who instead of inventing something more plausible have to make up this nonsense.”
“These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless — our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources,” the Taliban spokesperson said. “That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don’t attack them.”
McEnany added, “There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations and in fact there are dissenting opinions from some within the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what’s being reported. The veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.