Week ahead: Trump pick for intel director heads before Congress

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President Trump’s nominee for intelligence chief will face Congress in the coming week.

The hearing comes as the president spars with the intelligence community over leaks.

Lawmakers on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence are sure to raise questions about Trump’s criticism of the intelligence community–and skepticism over its conclusions about Russian election hacking–when they hear testimony from Trump’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence, former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats (R), on Tuesday. 

Trump again took aim at the intelligence community on Friday, using his choice medium of Twitter to blast “leaks” coming out about his administration. The tweet storm followed a CNN report that the FBI bucked a recent request by the White House to publicly dispute stories about Trump campaign aides having contacts with Russian officials.

{mosads}”The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time. They can’t even … find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW,” Trump tweeted Friday morning, ahead of a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

A number of reports in recent weeks have claimed that morale among intelligence officials is declining over Trump’s criticisms. But a top counterintelligence official on Thursday hit back at those reports, claiming Trump’s feud with the intelligence community hasn’t hurt morale.

Lawmakers will likely want to hear from Coats himself on his views and what he’d do to improve relations between the president and intelligence officials.

It’ll be a busy week for Congress which is returning to Washington Monday after a week off.

Cyber will take center stage on Wednesday, with the House Armed Services Committee holding a hearing on “cyberwarfare in the 21st century” where they’ll hear testimony from think tank experts.

Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a two-part hearing Wednesday on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is up for renewal at the end of this year.

The hearing–half of which is classified and closed to the public–is sure be closely watched by privacy and civil liberties advocates who’d like to see the law heavily reformed or allowed to sunset.

And industry leaders and lawmakers are also still awaiting Trump’s executive order on cybersecurity, which was announced and abruptly delayed nearly a month ago.


Recent stories:

Democrats want a ‘full account’ of a federal agency’s work to secure the election from cyber threats

Website service Cloudflare says it leaked sensitive data

House lawmakers are prepared to reintroduce an IT modernization bill

Judge denies warrant request by the government to force any individual in a given location to use their fingerprints to unlock Apple devices in the area

The Pentagon is mulling a split of the ‘dual-hat’ leadership of NSA, Cyber Command

Russia adds information warfare troops

Watchdog slams Obama-era technology initiative for poor IT practices 

Democrat plans to introduce bill that would force Border Patrol agents to get warrants before searching devices

DHS offers GPS resiliency tests for critical infrastructure devices 

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