Warner calls Intelligence chief’s decision to scale down congressional election security briefings ‘outrageous’
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the decision made by the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Saturday to scale back in-person election security briefings for Congress is “outrageous.”
“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has an obligation to brief Congress on threats to our elections,” Warner said in a statement obtained by The Hill.
“Director [John] Ratcliffe’s outrageous decision to stop providing briefings to Congress is an unprecedented attempt to politicize an issue – protecting our democracy from foreign intervention – that should be non-partisan.”
Ratcliffe did tell congressional leaders that the intelligence community will provide written “finished intelligence products,” and added that the decision was made to ensure that intelligence information “is not misunderstood nor politicized.”
Earlier this month, top U.S. counterintelligence officials reported that Russia is using a range of measures to “primarily denigrate” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, while China prefers President Trump not win reelection.
“Russia interfered in our elections in 2016, and they’re doing it again in 2020. One the lessons we should draw from what happened in 2016 is that Congress and the American public need to know more information about the election interference threat — not less,” Warner added.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said earlier Saturday that the decision was a “shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), the intelligence committee’s Republican chairman, has not responded to an inquiry from The Hill.
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