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 MurkowskiBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return 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 SchumerPelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms Trump supporters could hand Senate control to Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday morning called for Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeHillicon Valley: Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 | Defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal, includes White House cyber czar position | Officials warn hackers are targeting vaccine supply chain Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 DNI Ratcliffe: China 'greatest threat' to freedom since World War II MORE and CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelCongress set for chaotic year-end sprint A strong, committed intelligence community is part of America's good fortune Women set to take key roles in Biden administration 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 John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE was told this information, and if so, when,” Schumer said. 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser 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 RubioSenate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Pressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal 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 SasseBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism 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."