“The Bucks Stops Here!”

President Harry Truman


If any military commander knew, or should have known, about potential threats to the safety of the men and women serving under their chain of command and failed to take actions to protect his forces they would be guilty of dereliction of their duty.  If such a failure resulted in injuries or death to any of their troops, that commander would likely be subject to a Military Courts Martial and the possibility of reduction in rank, dismissal from the service and criminal penalties.

If any commander’s subordinates knew, or should have known, about such potential threats and didn’t immediately report them up the chain of command, they would be equally guilty and possibly face similar legal exposures and penalties.

There should be no less of a rigid standard imposed on the Commander-in-Chief of our nation’s armed forces or his underlings!

It has been credibly reported the intelligence community included information the Russians had offered the Taliban bounties on U.S service men and women serving in Afghanistan in the Presidential Daily Brief (“PDB”), and possibly in person, perhaps as early as last March.

Either the president didn’t read the PDB (it is reported by many briefers as well as former senior White House personnel the President Trump dislikes reading lengthy or detailed reports, preferring graphical visual aids and videos) or those members of his staff who were supposed to read the PDB and prepare an abridged presentation to the president intentionally omitted telling their boss about the potential Russian threat.

Trump’s spokespersons, led by the barely believable White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said only that Trump "was not personally briefed.” 

One explanation circulated by the president’s team is the intelligence had not been totally verified and questions still surrounded the intelligence; thus it did not rise to the level the president needed to be informed.  Perhaps his staff has been conditioned not to report information detrimental to Russia or Putin to the president.

However, according to former members of the intelligence community, most recent presidents do read the PDB and presidents are routinely informed about intelligence even when it’s not definitively confirmed as, “Intelligence that may be on shaky ground today may foreshadow tomorrow’s calamity.”

Trump finally, predictably by Tweet, responded; “The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytumes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!

Should anyone be surprised at the Administration’s dismissive handling of the affair? 

Whenever information criticizes the president he shouts, “fake news” and when intelligence adverse to Russia or Putin becomes public, the president paints it as a “hoax”; most dramatically during a joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki when Trump publicly took Russian president Putin’s side over the unanimous consensus of American intelligence agencies that Russia did interfere in the 2016 elections.

Whether the intelligence on possible Russian bounties was 100% accurate, it was not a hoax or a fiction invented by the New York Times or Washington Post. 

The president’s failure to know about the Russian threat either because he does not read his PDBs or by delegating its review to incompetent subordinates is a clear dereliction of his duty as Commander-in-Chief.  It also again demonstrates Donald Trump’s willingness to appease to foreign autocrats and pander to his domestic base rather than acting in the best interests of America and members of its military!

No excuses … no blaming others … the BUCK STOPS at the Oval Office!