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 RatcliffeSunday shows preview: Senate votes to raise debt ceiling; Facebook whistleblower blasts company during testimony Biden, Trump battle over who's to blame for Afghanistan Sunday shows preview: US grapples with rising COVID-19 cases 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 BartiromoJudge: Request for Tucker Carlson personnel files is 'intrusive' The Memo: Fall in white population could add fuel to nativist fire A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate 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 PelosiDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Sunday shows - Democrats' spending plan in the spotlight Pelosi won't say if she'll run for reelection in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAll eyes on Garland after Bannon contempt vote House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party 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.