Ratcliffe defends end of election security briefings, accuses lawmakers of leaks

Ratcliffe defends end of election security briefings, accuses lawmakers of leaks
© Greg Nash

Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFormer Trump officials eye bids for political office Grenell congratulates Buttigieg on becoming second openly gay Cabinet member Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE on Sunday defended his announcement that in-person election security briefings to Congress will end, saying the move was necessary to prevent leaks.

“When I went through confirmation, people watched that. They heard me make a couple of promises,” Ratcliffe said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures. “One of them was to always follow the law. The other was that I would do everything I could to protect the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, allowing people to leak it for political purposes.”

“The action that I announced yesterday is entirely consistent with that. I reiterated to Congress, look, I'm going to keep you fully and currently informed, as required by the law. But I also said, we're not going to do a repeat of what happened a month ago, when I did more than what was required, at the request of Congress, to brief not just the Oversight Committees, but every member of Congress,” he said.

"And yet, within minutes of that -- one of those briefings ending, a number of members of Congress went to a number of different publications and leaked classified information, again, for political purposes, to create a narrative that simply isn't true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China," he added.

Ratcliffe went on to tell host Maria BartiromoMaria Sara BartiromoBBC apologizes for interview with fake Cory Booker Gaetz suggests DeSantis could run for president in 2024 if Trump is out of the picture Bartiromo, Pirro, Dobbs file to dismiss Smartmatic lawsuits MORE that “Russia wants a seat at the table of the international order."

"China wants to sit at the head of the table. China has a plan, through the Belt and Road Initiative, the made-in-China Initiative, the Thousand Talents program, military-civil fusion laws that require companies to spy for the government through 5G and Huawei, all of that is design to challenge U.S. superiority in every respect, and to sit at the head of the table, and really set the rules and standards and norms for international -- in the international marketplace,” he added.

Ratcliffe made the announcement Saturday, prompting swift backlash from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food Andrew Yang condemns attacks against Asian Americans Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? MORE (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Democrats want to silence opposing views, not 'fake news' White House defends not sanctioning Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi What good are the intelligence committees? MORE (D-Calif.).

“This intelligence belongs to the American people, not the agencies which are its custodian. And the American people have both the right and the need to know that another nation, Russia, is trying to help decide who their president should be,” they said in a joint statement.