Pelosi presses Ryan for classified briefing on election security

Pelosi presses Ryan for classified briefing on election security
© Greg Nash
 
 
“Only a classified briefing would address the seriousness of the attack on our democracy,” she wrote.
 
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Lawmakers have sought to raise the alarm on election security after multiple U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election with the aim of tipping the presidential race away from Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump on Clinton's Sanders comments: 'She's the one that people don't like' Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders MORE.
 
Officials have said that Russian hackers targeted digital systems involved in the election process in 21 states as part of a broader effort to interfere in the 2016 elections. While officials maintain that hackers mostly probed for vulnerabilities, they have said that in a small number of states, like Illinois, actors were able to break in — though officials insist there is no evidence any vote totals were changed. 
 
Thursday’s briefing is designed to update lawmakers on steps the Trump administration is taking to prevent similar attempts to meddle in the November midterms. Providing that update will be Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenActing DHS secretary says he expects Russia to attempt to interfere in 2020 elections House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena Trump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report MORE, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
 
Democrats, who have urged such a briefing for months, have pushed back on the unclassified nature of the meeting.
 
Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHillicon Valley: Trump turns up heat on Apple over gunman's phone | Mnuchin says Huawei won't be 'chess piece' in trade talks | Dems seek briefing on Iranian cyber threats | Buttigieg loses cyber chief House Democrats request briefings on Iranian cyber threats from DHS, FCC Democrats sound election security alarm after Russia's Burisma hack MORE (Miss.), the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, argued the unclassified setting won’t allow the intelligence officials “to go into the detail necessary to properly educate members of Congress on The Trump Administration's efforts — or lack thereof — to secure our election systems from foreign interference."
 
Lawmakers are accustomed to huddling in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center to receive classified updates on issues as varied as Russian hacking and U.S. military invention in Syria.
 
Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinRosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts Journalist alleging Obama administration spied on her seeks to reopen case Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' MORE, for instance, had conducted such a session last May, and the Democrats want a similar confidential environment to accompany this week’s election security briefing.
 
“I urge you to make this important briefing classified to honor Members’ need to know, to recognize the prospect of further damage to our democratic system and to fulfill our responsibilities to our nation,” Pelosi wrote to Ryan on Tuesday.
 
“We are in the midst of an election season, and there is no time to waste.” 
 
Ryan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday