CNN correspondent says military, intel community 'desperate' for leadership on foreign election interference

CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto said in an interview that aired Tuesday on Hill.TV's "Rising" that service members in the military and intelligence communities are "desperate for leadership" on tackling election hacking and interference.

"When I talk to the submarine commanders, when I talk to the folks at U.S. Space Command, the folks flying the spy missions over Russia, the folks sitting inside the NSA [National Security Agency] operations center responding to Russian and Chinese cyberattacks, they speak with one voice," Sciutto told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons and Saagar Enjeti.

"This is a threat. Russia and China, they're adversaries, and we have to respond forcefully here. You can't doubt their motivations," he said, referring to the response from the U.S. military and intelligence communities.

"You don't hear the same thing coming from the top of the administration," he said. "It's not angry Democrats who are making these points, it's men and women in uniform who are on the front lines in this."

"They recognize the threat, and they're desperate for leadership," said Sciutto, author of "The Shadow War: Inside Russia's and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America," which details how the two countries have used online attacks against the U.S.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE has repeatedly been accused of not doing enough to address Russia's efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. He said earlier this month that he did not bring up the issue during an hourlong phone call with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinGOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties We have now reached a code red moment in American democracy Jane Harman: NATO must use its brain cells to battle these threats MORE

Members of the Trump administration have warned that Moscow continues to pose a threat to U.S. elections.

"One of the solutions or recommendations that everyone I spoke to, and keep in mind these are officials who serve both Democratic and Republican administrations, is that you need clear leadership," Sciutto said. "You need a whole-of-government response, which to this point we don't have as a country." 

— Julia Manchester