HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Pentagon chief confirms h...

Thu Jul 9, 2020, 08:54 PM

Pentagon chief confirms he was briefed on intelligence about Russian payments to the Taliban [View all]

(CNN) Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed Thursday that he had been briefed on information regarding Russian payments to the Taliban, seemingly acknowledging that Russia's support for the militant group in Afghanistan is not a "hoax," as President Donald Trump has claimed. However, Esper also made clear that he has not seen intelligence that corroborates claims that American troops were killed as a result of the "bounty" payments, walking a delicate line between acknowledging a well-known threat and potentially clashing with the President.

Esper's comments came during a long-awaited appearance before the House Armed Services Committee, where lawmakers had their first opportunity to ask the defense secretary and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley about their knowledge of intelligence on Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for killing US troops in Afghanistan.

It was clear that both men attempted to carefully navigate questions from lawmakers, but Esper admitted exercising particular caution while addressing inquiries about whether he had been briefed on the matter and when.

Responding to a very narrow line of questioning from Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, Esper initially told lawmakers that he did not recall a briefing that included the word "bounty," but less than an hour later he clarified that answer when pressed by a Democratic member of the panel.

At that time, Esper explained that his response to Turner's question had been tailored to address whether the word "bounty" had ever been included in any briefing he had received and that he had refrained from elaborating further at the time in an effort to avoid politicizing the issue.

He went on to tell lawmakers that he had seen intelligence about Russian payments to the Taliban in February but added that his top generals did not believe those initial reports were credible at the time, a claim that appears to clash with comments made by one of those commanders on Tuesday, who called the reports "very worrisome."

(Read More) https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/09/politics/esper-briefed-russian-payments-to-taliban/index.html

9 replies, 805 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread