29.06.2020 | White House insists ‘no consensus’ on intel of Russian bounties for US troops, as pressure mounts
Source - Fox News
The White House on Monday insisted there is "no consensus" that the intelligence that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops is accurate, which is why, it said, the issue was never flagged to President Trump or Vice President Pence, despite reports to the contrary by outlets including The New York Times.
The comments from the administration come after a Sunday night tweet from Trump insisting he had not been informed of the reports because the intelligence community "did not find this info credible" and amid mounting pressure from Congress to get to the bottom of whether Trump knew of the alleged bounties, and if so, why there was no known retribution against Russia.
"POTUS was never briefed on this issue because there is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations," a senior administration official told Fox News, indicating that the intelligence did not make it up the chain of command to the president because intelligence department heads did not agree on the credibility of the information or that it had been verified to the degree necessary to flag to Trump.
"The veracity of the underlying allegations continues to be evaluated," a National Security Council spokesman further told Fox News.
A senior official also told CBS News the bounty allegations did not appear in the president's daily brief, a regular summary of national security issues delivered to the president and some Cabinet secretaries. Multiple national security sources confirm to Fox News that so-called "raw" intelligence rarely gets included in this briefing.
Russia has denied that the country issued bounties against American soldiers. TASS, the state news agency, reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry called the reports “information fakes.” A Taliban spokesman also denied any truth to the report.
But that did not stop pressure from Congress from ramping up in recent days.