News reports about the Kremlin putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers caused an uproar while Donald Trump was president, but the Biden administration was forced to admit last week that intelligence officials only had “low to moderate” confidence in the story. Now, one Senate Republican says he may know who’s to blame for the apparently false leak that precipitated it all.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) didn’t shy away from naming names this week when he made the bombshell claim that Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, could have been the “potential source” of the since-discredited reports about Russian bounties.
“I can’t say that those leaks last summer came from the intelligence community itself, but I think it’s probably as likely that they came from Democrats in Congress who had seen those documents and misrepresented them through the media,” Cotton told host Lisa Boothe on a recent episode of The Truth with Lisa Boothe podcast, according to the Examiner.
“Adam Schiff, I’m looking right at you right now as a potential source for that,” the GOP senator added.
“That’s pretty low”
As the Examiner noted, Schiff was among those who took particular exception with then-President Trump’s apparent inaction toward Russia for reportedly offering Taliban operatives bounties for killing U.S. soldiers.
“Americans are outraged by reports that Russia offered bounties on U.S. troops,” Schiff wrote in a tweet last July. “The only American who isn’t? Donald Trump. Trump is again taking the Kremlin’s side and calling it a hoax. This is no hoax, Mr. President. But it is time you put our troops first, instead of Putin.”
In a clear moment of vindication for Trump, a Biden official revealed last Thursday that the intelligence community has only “low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks on U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019 and perhaps earlier.”
The Daily Beast reports: “Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven — and possibly untrue.”
On that point, Cotton opined: “That’s pretty low, I got to tell you, just from a tradecraft perspective.”
Cotton went on to charge Schiff with being behind it all — an allegation the California congressman, for his part, has sharply denied.
A spokesperson for Schiff told the Washington Examiner that the claim was “false and baseless.”
“Yet another false and baseless claim by Tom Cotton — you would think he would know better by now,” the spokesperson said.