White House Sending Top Intelligence Officials to Brief Congress on Alleged Russian Bounties

By Jeff Seldin| VOA|

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe leaves after briefing senators on Capitol Hill about reports of Russia paying bounties for the killing of US troops in Afghanistan, July 1, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – Top U.S. intelligence officials are set to brief key members of Congress Thursday on what is known — and what is not known — about an alleged Russian plot to pay militants for attacks on American and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The White House confirmed CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone will meet with members of the so-called Gang of Eight.

The meeting will be the first chance for lawmakers to hear directly from veteran intelligence officials about reports that Russia was offering Taliban-linked militants bounties to target and kill U.S. and allied troops.

Until now, briefings on the allegations have been led by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. representative who was sworn in just over a month ago, along with national security adviser Robert O’Brien and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, both of whom have served in their roles less than a year.

The three have repeatedly told lawmakers that information on the alleged Russian bounty program could not be confirmed, defending the decision not to bring the intelligence to the attention of President Donald Trump.

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