Rep. Waltz: Russia Aiding Taliban Isn’t New – and Neither is Democrats Politicizing Russia
Washington, June 29, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) spoke with Fox News’ Bret Baier to discuss recent reports of Russian military intelligence units secretly offering bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan, including U.S. troops.
Waltz questioned the motive for the timing of story, given its proximity to the 2020 election.
“We’ve known for years that the Russians have been supporting the Taliban through arms, through weapons, through other means…so to me, this really smacks of partisan talking points of hearing Russia and the President and trying to make hay of that in an election year.”
Russia’s links to the Taliban have been well-documented and U.S. military leaders have sounded the alarm on those links in recent years. In 2018, U.S. Gen. John Nicholson said Moscow was providing arms to the Taliban, a known terrorist organization.
Waltz, a former White House counterterrorism adviser, also discussed the White House’s extensive process for briefing the President on sensitive intelligence matters.
“I served in the Bush White House for Vice President Cheney. Before something gets to the President’s desk, there will be a policy process. You have to make sure something is vetted and verified. Often, intelligence agencies don’t fully agree or want to check themselves – and that’s just proper due diligence on behalf of the President’s National Security staff… I think it’s absolutely appropriate that these things are run to ground and you present the President with options beforehand, not just kind of throw this on his desk and then tell him: ‘We’ll get back to you.’”
If the intelligence is correct, Waltz agreed Russia should be held accountable for supporting terrorism and endangering U.S. troops.
“If this is true, we absolutely need to run it to ground and there should be consequences for Moscow but at the same time, there are a host of actors supporting and getting involved in Afghanistan against our interests. One has to ask: Why now? Why are they making such an issue of it right on the heels of running into a national election? All of those things can be true at the same time: We can get to the bottom of whether this is true and take real action – but also question whether there’s partisan politics behind this.”
Watch the full interview below or click here.