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Pelosi demands briefing on claims of Russia paying to kill US troops

por Mauricio Oreilly (02/07/2020)


Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding the Trump administration brief all House members on intelligence reports that Russia offered to pay members of the Taliban to kill U.S.

troops in Afghanistan, an allegation President Donald Trump called a 'Russian hoax.'

Some lawmakers will be briefed at the White House on Monday afternoon but it's unclear exactly who has been invited.  It will include both Democrats and Republicans, ABC News reported, noting members on 'committees of jurisdiction' have been invited. 

Pelosi, in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel, asked for a briefing for all members of the House.

'The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed,' she wrote.

'Congress and the country need answers now.

I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately. Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable,' Pelosi added.

Several members of Congress demanded more information and that the president respond to Russian aggression.   

'This is totally outrageous.

You would think that the minute the president heard of it he would want to know more instead of denying that he knew anything,' Pelosi said Sunday on ABC's 'This Week.'

'We have called for a report to the Congress on this. This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed,' she said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding the Trump administration brief all House members on intelligence reports that Russia offered to pay members of the Taliban to kill U.S.

troops in Afghanistan 

Even some Republicans demanded answers.

'I have asked the administration to share what it knows,' wrote Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, on Twitter.

'Imperative Congress get to the bottom of recent media reports that Russian GRU units in Afghanistan have offered to pay the Taliban to kill American soldiers with the goal of pushing America out of the region,' tweeted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally who golfed with the president on Sunday. 

'Russia is not a partner, and not to be negotiated with.

@realDonaldTrump needs to immediately expose and handle this, and stop Russia's shadow war,' tweeted Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, a defense hawk and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

President Trump said he had not been briefed on the matter and called the original report by  'possibly another fabricated Russian hoax.' 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday the White House usually doesn't comment on intelligence matters but add: 'Just so you know how it works.

It's vetted for its veracity and it only goes to the president and the high level officials, when it is deemed as verifiable and credible so I think it'll clear up a lot when members of Congress are briefed today,' she said on 'Fox & Friends.'

According to an initial report published Friday, Trump had been briefed on the operation, believed to be initiated by the notoriously violent Unit 29155 of the G.R.U, an arm of Russia's military intelligence agency, citing officials with knowledge on the matter.   

President Donald Trump has denied that he was made aware of an intelligence report that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan 

According to an initial New York Times report published Friday Trump had been briefed on the operation, believed to be initiated by the notoriously violent Unit 29155 of the G.R.U, an arm of Russia's military intelligence agency, citing officials with knowledge on the matter 

But Trump denied it, tweeting Sunday night that  neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence had been briefed.

'Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP.

Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!' he tweeted.

But he did not deny the intelligence assessment itself. 

However, a new report published Sunday said that the Russian bounties offered to the Taliban militants are believed to have actually resulted in the deaths of several U.S.

service members. 

President Trump returns to the White House after playing gold with Senator Lindsey Graham 

Both Russia and the Taliban have denied the existence of such a program to take out American troops. 

While it's not clear how many American or coalition troops from other countries were killed or targeted in the operation, fatalities are believed to have taken place, according to intelligence from U.S.

military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed in 2020. 

In each of those years some service members were killed in what's known as 'green on blue', hostile attacks launched by members of Afghan security forces, which are believed to be at times infiltrated by the Taliban.   

The CIA reviewed the report and confirmed the bounty operation, a senior US official said. The CIA reportedly took time to make its assessment, slowed down by a scale back in government functions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said the intelligence community has been investigating the April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three U.S.

Marines and wounded three other US service members and an Afghan contractor after a car was rigged with explosives and detonated near their armored vehicles. 

The vehicles were on their way back to Bagram Airfield - the largest U.S.
military installation in Afghanistan. The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.

Those sources also said they were looking at other insider 'green on blue' attacks from 2019 to see if they were linked to Russian bounties. 

Officials said the intelligence community has been investigating the April 2019 attack on an American convoy that killed three US Marines and wounded three other US service members and an Afghan contractor after a car was rigged with explosives and detonated near their armored vehicles, to see if it could be potentially linked to the Russian bounties.

The site of the car bomb above on April 9, 2019

The vehicles were on their way back to Bagram Airfield - the largest US military installation in Afghanistan. The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.

The site of the car bomb attack above