A new report raises serious questions regarding what House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff knew about bounties allegedly paid by Russia to Taliban-linked terrorists for killing American soldiers, and when he knew it.
The report from The Federalist is based on anonymous “intelligence sources,” and The Western Journal is unable to independently verify the outlet’s sourcing or the accuracy of those sources’ claims. However, we are providing this commentary due to the pertinence of the report and the past reliability of one of its authors, Mollie Hemingway.
Sources told the outlet that top committee staff for Schiff were briefed all the way back in February on intelligence about a Russian military intelligence unit covertly offering the bounties to militants. But the California Democrat “took no action in response,” the outlet reported, citing those sources.
The New York Times was the first outlet to report on the bounties, and notably, the outlet claimed President Donald Trump had been briefed on the matter.
“American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter,” The Times reported last week.
“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.”
But the Trump administration has strongly pushed back on the claim that Trump was briefed.
Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!! https://t.co/cowOmP7T1S
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
“Because the allegations in recent press articles have not been verified or substantiated by the Intelligence Community, President Trump had not been briefed on the items. Nevertheless, the Administration, including the National Security Council staff, have been preparing should the situation warrant action,” National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in a statement.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Schiff attacked the president for his alleged failure to “get to the bottom” of the matter, and claimed intelligence officials may be reluctant to brief Trump “on things he doesn’t want to hear.”
“I find it inexplicable in light of these very public allegations that the president hasn’t come before the country and assured the American people that he will get to the bottom of whether Russians are putting a bounty on the heads of American troops and that he will do everything in his power to make sure that we protect American troops,” he said.
“There may be a reluctance to brief the president on things he doesn’t want to hear, and that may be more true with respect to [Vladimir] Putin and Putin’s Russia than with respect to any other subject matter.”
But there’s a serious problem with that narrative, if The Federalist’s reporting is accurate:
The congressman’s own staff knew about the alleged bounties months ago, yet Schiff did nothing.
Schiff is now being forced to run for cover regarding his staff’s alleged knowledge of the matter.
Patrick Boland, a spokesman for the congressman on the intelligence committee, did not respond to a request for comment by The Federalist.
When asked by a reporter on Tuesday if he had any prior knowledge of the alleged bounties before The New York Times report came out, Schiff replied: “I can’t comment on specifics.”
That sure sounds like politician-speak for “Yes, but I don’t want to tell you about it.”
Schiff is attacking Trump, claiming he hasn’t done enough to address to respond to the allegations.
Yet if The Federalist’s report is true, and his staff was indeed briefed on the matter last winter, then why did Schiff not disclose the information to Congress or conduct hearings?
The California Democrat has spent much of Trump’s presidency trying to bring him down on false Russian collusion stories.
What has surfaced, however, is an allegation that Schiff did exactly what he is accusing Trump of doing right now — learning about a reported Russian plan to kill Americans and doing nothing about it.
This is just another notch in the belt of Schiff’s lengthy history of letting his hatred for Trump be the only factor guiding his decisions.
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