Pelosi Requests All-House Briefing from the Director of National Intelligence and Central Intelligence Agency on Press Reports of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

June 29, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter today to the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel requesting an interagency briefing for all House Members regarding disturbing press reports that Russia placed bounties on U.S. Troops in Afghanistan and President Trump’s inexplicable behavior towards Russia in light of these reports.

In the letter, the Speaker wrote “The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed.”

“Congress and the country need answers now.  I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately.  Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.”

Below is the text of the letter to the Director of National Intelligence and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency:

* * *

June 29, 2020

The Honorable John Ratcliffe

Director of National Intelligence

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Washington, DC 20511

The Honorable Gina Haspel

Director

Central Intelligence Agency

Washington, D.C. 20505

 

Dear Director Ratcliffe and Director Haspel,

As you know, since the origin of the intelligence community, one of its primary purposes has always been force protection.  A key priority of our intelligence community in Afghanistan is protecting our forces.  And to that end, the community has apparently come upon very disturbing intelligence.

On Friday, press reports alleged that, according to American intelligence officials, Russian military intelligence secretly offered Taliban-connected militants bounties for killing American and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Press reports also state that the White House National Security Council and other key Administration officials were aware of this intelligence in late March and that the President was briefed.  However, although an interagency meeting was reportedly held to discuss potential responses including formal diplomatic complaints and sanctions, no action has been taken for three months.  The President now denies being briefed, but the Administration has not denied the existence of the intelligence.

The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed.

Congress and the country need answers now.  I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately.  Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.

The Administration’s disturbing silence and inaction endanger the lives of our troops and our coalition partners.  The President’s refusal to stand up to the Russians also jeopardizes lives in the region, as the Afghan government and the United States are engaged in critical peace negotiations with the Taliban. 

Thank you for your attention to this urgent priority for America’s national security.

Sincerely,

                       

NANCY PELOSI           

Speaker of the House