Report: Ex-CIA chiefs brief 2020 candidates on geopolitics, election interference

Two former acting CIA directors developed an unclassified report on national security issues and election interference for distribution to 2020 presidential candidates, according to The Washington Post.

John McLaughlin and Michael Morell based the “briefing book” on the oral briefing that intelligence officials provide to major party nominees, typically after party conventions, according to the Post.

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The former officials sent the 37-page document to nearly every announced candidate and will soon send it to President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE. The former officials are distributing the information earlier than usual in large part because of “the recent rise and abundance of fake news and foreign election interference,” McLaughlin and Morell said, according to the Post.

Both men have participated in the traditional classified briefings of nominees before and enlisted other former intelligence officials to write a series of short articles covering topics such as U.S.-Russia relations, American-Iranian tensions, cybersecurity and the rise of China as an international power, according to the article.

In addition to providing basic information, the report also contains warnings about issues like Iranian relations, noting that the nation has threatened to withdraw from an agreement with the Obama administration to freeze development of nuclear weapons, which the government initially said it would comply with even after Trump pulled out of the deal.

McLaughlin and Morell told the Post the materials, which were sent to many candidates who have not yet developed specific foreign policy proposals, is not intended to influence candidates’ policies.

“The intelligence community that I spent 33 years in and know today is the least political part of our government,” Morell said, according to the Post. “The people who work there are apolitical. They care deeply about the issues they’re working on. And they do not allow their policy views or their political views to influence what they’re writing.”