16th District Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger says he attended a classified briefing at the White House on Monday after media reports that Russia put bounties on American and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
As ABC News is reporting, Russian intelligence officers offered to pay Taliban militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan over the past year, amid peace talks to end the 18-year war there, according to a military official that confirmed the information to ABC News on Sunday.
The New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence agencies linked the effort to a Russian intelligence unit suspected of covert action and assassination attempts in Europe. The intelligence findings were said to have been presented to President Donald Trump in March but the President has denied being briefed. Administration officials said neither the President nor Vice President were briefed as there were dissenting opinions on the verification of the intelligence.
That reason has been disputed as other unverified intelligence is reportedly put before presidents regularly as there is always uncertainty.
Locally, Congressman Kinzinger was one of eight Republicans briefed on the media reports on Monday by top Administration officials. He says among other things, they were informed there is an ongoing review to determine the accuracy of the reports, and he believes, "it is important to let this review take place before any retaliatory actions are taken."
Rep. Kinzinger says there are individuals who are already politicizing the issue, saying, "we cannot let politics overshadow a truth that Republicans and Democrats alike can agree on: the Putin regime cannot be trusted."
Kinzinger says if the intelligence review process verifies the reports they,"strongly encourage the Administration to take swift and serious action to hold the Putin regime accountable."
After their own briefing, some Democratic members of Congress like Rep. Adam Schiff of California have called on the President to assure the American people to investigate whether or not bounties are being placed on American troops. Others such as Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland pointed the finger at President Trump for classifying the information as, "a hoax."
Rep. Hoyer called the information a, "serious matter."