Protection Secretary Mark Esper claims he was not briefed on alleged Russian “bounties” to eliminate US troops in Afghanistan — and that he would have been if there was credible intelligence.
Esper’s under-oath testimony Thursday to the Property Armed Services Committee follows a bombshell report final month that claimed President Trump was briefed on Russian bounties and did not act.
Trump denies he was briefed and denounced the report as “another created up by Bogus Information tale that is told only to hurt me.”
Esper’s testimony implicitly supports Trump’s model of events.
“Congressman, to the finest of my recollection I have not acquired a briefing that incorporated the phrase bounty,” Esper testified.
“If it was a credible report — that is vital, a credible corroborated report that employed these words and phrases, surely, it would have been brought to my awareness by the chain of command,” Esper included.
Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio elicited the reaction, telling Esper that committee members presently understood “the answer” to no matter whether Esper was briefed on the alleged Russian bounties right before the public reporting.
“Things that have not occurred are not categorised,” Turner stated, inquiring Esper point-blank whether or not he was briefed about Russian bounties in Afghanistan.
Later in the briefing, Esper said intelligence on the feasible bounties “was not created by a DOD intelligence agency,” this means it would have originated with a civilian spy agency this kind of as the CIA or Nationwide Protection Agency.
“The illegal leaks are awful, they’re going on throughout the federal government, especially in the Protection Department,” Esper stated. “It jeopardizes our troops, and it is just damaging to our federal government and our associations with our allies and partners.”
White House Push Secretary Kayleigh McEnany reported last 7 days that the intelligence on “bounties” was unconfirmed, and may possibly by no means be confirmed because of to the reporting.
“We will not be ready to get — pretty most likely not be able to get a consensus on this intelligence simply because of what was leaked to the New York Moments,” McEnany said.
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