The Trump administration is stepping up the defense of its response to intelligence assessments that suggested Russia had offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with the president’s national security adviser saying on Wednesday he had prepared a list of retaliatory options if the intelligence had been corroborated.
Watch the press briefing in the live player above.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the administration’s response to the intelligence, saying it was handled “incredibly well” to ensure the safety of U.S. troops. “We took this seriously, we handled it appropriately,” he said.
During a press conference at the State Department Wednesday he said the administration receives intelligence about threats to Americans “every single day” and that each is addressed.
Pompeo also noted that Russian activity in Afghanistan is nothing new and that Russia is just one of many nations acting there. “It’s not just the Russians, it’s lots of people,” he said.
Pompeo added that Russian activity in Afghanistan is nothing new and that Russia is just one of many nations acting there. He said that Congress has had similar information in the past, and that he often receives threat assessments that don’t rise to the level of a presidential briefing.
He said the US takes threats from Russia (and everyone else) seriously, not just in Afghanistan but in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
When asked about inviting the Russian President Vladimir Putin to the G7 summit Pompeo said it is up to Trump to decide whether to invite Putin but he said that even in the midst of crises or allegations like these it is important to speak with the Russians.
He cited the recently concluded arms control talks in Vienna with the Russians as a case in point.