Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has spoken out to say that she warned reporters not to be so quick to buy into a New York Times story about Russia putting bounties on American troops last summer.
“I was asked dozens and dozens of questions about the Russia bounties,” McEnany told Fox News. “I cautioned reporters on the first day the story came out and I said, ‘Do not be so quick to buy this New York Times story. This information is unverified. There are dissenting opinions in the intelligence community. Do not run with this narrative. It’s just simply not true and not the case.'”
The New York Times released a report last summer claiming that American intelligence officials had found that Russia’s military intelligence secretly offered Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill the U.S. troops that were still in Afghanistan, according to Newsweek. Democrats lost their minds over the report, claiming that then-President Donald Trump’s fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin had endangered the lives of American troops.
It wasn’t until last Thursday that the Joe Biden administration admitted that U.S. intelligence officials had “low to moderate” confidence in the reports of bounties being true.
“This information puts a burden on the Russian government to explain its actions and take steps to address this disturbing pattern of behavior,” one senior Biden official said.
When asked about the story last week, current White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration “felt the reports were enough of a cause for concern that we wanted our intelligence community to look into this report as a part of this overall assessment.”
McEnany, however, said that the story was unfairly pushed by the media and was detrimental to military families whose loved ones were overseas still.
“Not only did they run with [the story], it is remarkable if you take a walk through memory lane, at The New York Times convincing military families, who had their loved ones killed in action, that in fact Russia bounties were probably to blame,” she said. “And not only that, but their commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, just simply didn’t care.”
“It was a heinous allegation. They ran with it. CNN dropped the word ‘alleged’ from their reporting. The Washington Post said they had verified their reporting and then went on to give President Trump four pinocchios over it,” McEnany continued. “It was amazing. It was a story, a narrative that set in the summer. One that took hold and was so heinous at the heart of it that the commander-in-chief would not care about United States military men and women in the line of battle. It was egregious and I’m glad this day of accounting has come.”