News and Commentary

Trump, DNI Ratcliffe Push Back On New York Times Report On Russian Bounties On U.S. Troops
UNITED STATES - MARCH 26: Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, speaks during the House GOP post-caucus press conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the White House, and President Donald Trump are all pushing back on a New York Times report that claimed that Trump was briefed about an alleged Russian military unit that secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan.

“The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said,” The New York Times reported. “Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.”

The Russian military unit that was alleged to be behind the attack was Unit 29155, an arm of Russia’s military intelligence agency, which the report said has been linked to assassination attempts and secret operations to destabilize the West. Tactics that the unit reportedly uses in its covert war against the West include cyber-attacks, the dissemination of disinformation online, and secret military missions that Moscow is able to deny.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe responded to the report by saying in a statement: “I have confirmed that neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday.”

“The White House statement addressing this issue earlier today, which denied such a briefing occurred, was accurate,” Ratcliffe added. “The New York Times reporting, and all other subsequent news reports about such an alleged briefing are inaccurate.”

President Donald Trump pushed back against the report early on Sunday morning, writing: “Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News @nytimes . Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us. 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’?”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded to the report late on Saturday, saying, “The United States receives thousands of intelligence reports a day and they are subject to strict scrutiny. While the White House does not routinely comment on alleged intelligence or internal deliberations, the CIA Director, 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. This does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Trump, DNI Ratcliffe Push Back On New York Times Report On Russian Bounties On U.S. Troops