White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at Monday’s briefing that President Donald Trump has not yet been briefed on intelligence suggesting Russia is paying out bounties for the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan, as the intelligence community hasn’t reached a “consensus” on the veracity of the information.
“While the White House does not routinely comment on alleged intelligence or internal deliberations, the CIA director, NSA, 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 stated. “There is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations, and, in effect, they are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what’s being reported, and the veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated.” (RELATED:Trump Dismisses NYT Report That Russia Offered Bounties To Taliban Forces To Kill US Soldiers)
McEnany answered a followup question on whether Trump had been briefed in recent days by noting that “intelligence is verified before it reaches the president of the United States. In this case it wasn’t verified.”
“I won’t speculate on whether this intelligence is verified or not verified, and I won’t get ahead of the president on further actions,” she continued. “There are dissenting opinions within the intelligence community.”
Earlier in the day, McEnany called the original report from the New York Times on the alleged bounties “just dead wrong.”
“It is truly egregious when you have anonymous sources spewing out this information on the pages of the New York Times and wrongly giving them false information,” she stated. “There’s no place for this kind of leaking — it does not serve the interest of the United States to go and to share classified information or unverified intelligence or any of the thousands of reports that come in on any given day that have to be assessed for their credibility.”
Trump himself also disputed NYT’s claim that he had been briefed on the situation.
“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,” he tweeted Sunday morning. “Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us.”
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…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2020
CBS’ Catherine Herridge also reported on Monday that her intelligence sources could not corroborate NYT’s story.
“An intelligence official with direct knowledge tells CBS News there was an intel collection report and ‘NSA assesses Report does not match well established and verifiiable Taliban and Haqqani practices’ + ‘lack sufficient reporting to corroborate any links,'” she tweeted. “The official said the inteligence collection report reached ‘low levels’ NSC but did not go further, not briefed POTUS, or VP because it was deemed ‘uncorroborated’ and ‘dissent intelligence community.'”
The official said the inteligence collection report reached “low levels” NSC but did not go further, not briefed POTUS, or VP because it was deemed “uncorroborated” and “dissent intelligence community.” @CBSNews
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) June 29, 2020