Department of Defense (DOD) is calling The New York Times‘ latest hit-job on the president fake news.
According to Breitbart, the Pentagon released a statement Tuesday denying a Times report that alleged Russian military officials had offered money to Taliban fighters to target American troops. President Donald Trump faced widespread criticism following the release of the report, which claimed the White House had been briefed on the alleged intelligence but had yet to act.
“The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU operatives were engaged in malign activity against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said, according to Breitbart. “To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports.”
White House denies
Hoffman continued: “Regardless, we always take the safety and security of our forces in Afghanistan — and around the world — most seriously and therefore continuously adopt measures to prevent harm from potential threats.”
As Breitbart noted, the Times alleged in its report that U.S. intelligence officials “concluded months ago” that Russians had put bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The Times cited anonymous, unnamed individuals who had been “briefed on the matter,” according to Breitbart.
But as Fox News reports, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Saturday that this alleged intel never made its way to the president’s — or vice president’s — desk. Trump’s top spokeswoman was hesitant, however, to confirm or deny whether money was indeed offered up by Russia.
“This does not speak to the merit of the alleged intelligence but to the inaccuracy of the New York Times story erroneously suggesting that President Trump was briefed on this matter,” McEnany said, according to Fox.
“Just another hoax”
According to the Washington Examiner, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe confirmed McEnany’s Saturday statement that Trump and Pence were kept in the dark.
“The White House statement addressing this issue earlier today, which denied such a briefing occurred, was accurate,” he said, according to the Examiner. “The New York Times reporting, and all other subsequent news reports about such an alleged briefing are inaccurate.”
Ratcliffe didn’t comment, however, on the alleged intelligence itself.
President Donald Trump, for his part, has since called the Times report “just another hoax.”
The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020