Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said The New York Times story about Russians offering bounties to Taliban fighters for killing American troops may have imperiled the lives of U.S. military personnel and compromised America’s national security.
Banks made his comments in a column posted Tuesday by Fox News.
“This story is a big deal to me — it’s personal,” he said. “I am angry that friends I served with in Afghanistan could’ve had a target on their backs. I did more than 50 vehicle convoy missions outside the wire when I served in 2014-15: There may have been a bounty on my head.
“So, how do we know Russians were paying Taliban fighters bounties for killing American troops? We don’t.
“If Russia was putting bounties on American troops’ heads, they are shredding every piece of evidence that it happened as we speak. All because President [Donald] Trump’s breathless critics in the media decided to insert themselves and interrupt the intelligence community’s efforts.”
He said because of the newspaper’s report, the intelligence community’s “hands are tied.”
“They can’t follow up on this intelligence and learn more about the Russian operation in Afghanistan, which leaves our troops stationed there in danger,” he noted. “Worse, everyone from national security adviser Robert O’Brien