Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) on Monday, June 29, excoriated the New York Times for “falsely accusing” President Donald Trump of ignoring reports that Russian military offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“The real scandal: We’ll likely never know the truth … Because the @nytimes used unconfirmed intel in an ONGOING investigation into targeted killing of American soldiers in order to smear the President. The blood is on their hands,” Banks wrote in a series of tweets after attending a meeting with top White House and intelligence officials earlier on the issue.
“Having served in Afghanistan during the time the alleged bounties were placed, no one is angrier about this than me. Now it’s impossible to finish the investigation. All b/c the @nytimes will do anything to damage @realdonaldtrump, even if it means compromising nat’l security,” he continued.
Americans don’t buy the phony Russia-Trump-Collusion narrative.
THEY SEE President Trump’s rock solid record in support of our troops, our veterans & American exceptionalism. THEY SEE the media walk back claims of a Trump-Russia scandal over & over. So tired. Change it up!
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) June 29, 2020
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe earlier on Monday released a statement stating, “Neither the President nor the Vice President were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times.” The White House said that President Trump wasn’t briefed on the matter because the information had not been verified.
The Defense Department late Monday said that there is “no corroborating evidence” to support the Times reporting.
Following the Times controversial reporting, CNN reported that the information about the Russian bounties was included in one of President Trump’s daily briefings, citing an unnamed source.
Ratcliffe released a statement on Monday night slamming leaks to the media as detrimental to intelligence investigations.
“The selective leaking of any classified information disrupts the vital interagency work to collect, assess, and mitigate threats and places our forces at risk. It also, simply put, a crime,” Ratcliffe wrote.
“We are still investigating the alleged intelligence referenced in recent media reporting and we will brief the President and Congressional leaders at the appropriate time,” he added. “This is the analytic process working the way it should. Unfortunately, unauthorized disclosures now jeopardize our ability to ever find out the full story with respect to these allegations.”
DNI Ratcliffe issues statement on impact of unauthorized disclosures on force protection pic.twitter.com/Pr7PbWk443
— Office of the DNI (@ODNIgov) June 30, 2020