Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is pressing the Department of Defense (DOD) for more details about its investigation into reports suggesting Russian operatives placed bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
In her letter addressed to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Duckworth called the closed briefing provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) “disappointing.”
She alleged the two witnesses provided by the department were “unprepared” to answer questions about the reports.
Duckworth went on to slam President Donald Trump for his failure to respond appropriately to the intelligence.
“It is unacceptable that to date, the Trump administration appears to be ignoring a matter of great importance to Gold Star Family members whose loved ones were killed while serving in Afghanistan: were any U.S. troop casualties in Afghanistan connected with the alleged GRU bounty payments to Taliban-linked militants?” Duckworth said.
She added, “Gold Star Families deserve an answer to this question.”
Duckworth issued a tweet on Thursday reiterating her disappointment with Trump’s failure to take action.
“In the last 13 days, as American troops wonder whether the reports that Russia is putting bounties on their heads are true, Trump golfed,” Duckworth said.
She continued, “He campaigned. But he hasn’t said a single word condemning Putin or suggested a plan of action to stand up for our servicemembers.”
In the last 13 days, as American troops wonder whether the reports that Russia is putting bounties on their heads are true, Trump golfed. He campaigned. But he hasn’t said a single word condemning Putin or suggested a plan of action to stand up for our servicemembers.— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) July 9, 2020
Duckworth closed her letter requesting the department confirm an investigation into U.S. troop casualties in Afghanistan, and whether the DOD is tracking Intelligence Community investigations into troop casualties.
Duckworth also asked the department to commit to “disclosing the findings of all investigations on this subject with Gold Star Family members, Congress, and the American people.”
The Trump administration previously claimed the president was not initially brief on the matter, as IJR previously reported.
According to National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Trump was not briefed on the allegations because they were “uncorroborated.”
On June 30, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump had officially been briefed on the reports.