Senators will have access to intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops

Senators will have access to intelligence documents related to reporting that Russia’s military intelligence unit, the GRU, offered bounties to Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 

The broad access senators will have to classified documents that were previously reserved for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee reflects the intense concern building on Capitol Hill over a bombshell report published by The New York Times on Friday.

“I do understand that multiple documents ... are being made available to senators in a secure room. I just got that note as I was coming over here,” said Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Senate panel deadlocks over Biden pick to lead DOJ civil rights division Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney MORE (R-Alaska), who said she would “hope” that senators receive a briefing.


“I think it’s important to understand the facts behind it,” she said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday morning called for Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeTrump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge Former Trump officials eye bids for political office MORE and CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Biden announces veteran diplomat William Burns as nominee for CIA director Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community MORE to brief all 100 senators on reports of Russia offering bounties on U.S. troops. 

“We need to know whether or not President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE was told this information, and if so, when,” Schumer said. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Lawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats House Republican: 'Absolutely bogus' for GOP to downplay Jan. 6 MORE (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Ratcliffe and Haspel on Monday asking them to brief all House members.

“The questions that arise are: was the president briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed,” she wrote.


The White House briefed House Republican lawmakers on the issue Monday and is expected to brief House Democrats on Tuesday morning.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe imminent crises facing Joe Biden Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs daylight savings bill Study: Early unemployment cutoff would cost 16M people 0B MORE (R-Fla.) told reporters Monday afternoon that he was not aware of any Senate briefings.

“We need to be very careful about how we discuss intelligence because if you’re not a regular consumer of it, as most people are not, you don't understand how it works. The notion of a smoking gun and intelligence are rare,” he told reporters.

Rubio warned against jumping to conclusions because intelligence sometimes represents a best guess instead of a rock-solid fact. 

"It is important to be cautious on intelligence writ large because when it's proven to not be accurate, it can lead to things like a war or other measures that proved to be counterproductive," he said.


Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals Hillicon Valley: Colonial Pipeline attack underscores US energy's vulnerabilities | Biden leading 'whole-of-government' response to hack | Attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap Instagram for kids MORE (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicated Monday that the topic is not new to members of his panel. 

"There are a lot of us in SSCI who have already spent time on this topic in the past," he said, using the acronym for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "The Congress and particularly the SSCI needs to do a lot more."

Sasse clarified that "I'm not confirming any facts."