The New York Times endangered U.S. troops by reporting that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban fighters to kill soldiers and made President Donald Trump appear to be "turning a blind eye to these bounties," Rep. Jim Banks said Friday.
“The fact of the matter is because a leaker went to the New York Times and they published this ongoing intelligence of these possible bounties, now we might not ever know the truth and we might not ever be able to hold those [responsible] accountable,” the Indiana Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
But because the left wants to politicize the reports, the intelligence about the alleged bounties has been exposed, and that "means more troops will be killed and the TImes is responsible," said Banks.
Meanwhile, career intelligence officials have said the information doesn't check out, and "the Russians at this point have shredded the evidence," said Banks.
The story also rehashes the Russian collusion narrative by implying that for some reason, Trump is "cozy with Russia and Vladimir Putin," when in fact, the administration has been "so tough on Russia that the narrative has been long dismissed."
Banks noted that he was serving in Afghanistan during the time the intelligence is said to come from, meaning "those bounties were on my head" as well as on those of other men and women he served with.
Banks' comments came after the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that intelligence agencies are finding it difficult to speak with Trump about national security threats, especially on Russia. This was highlighted again after the reports about the Russian bounties.
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