Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe will no longer conduct in-person election security briefings with lawmakers as a result of a “pandemic of information being leaked out of the intelligence community.”
These leaks can happen “within minutes” of a briefing, Ratcliffe told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. The DNI accused lawmakers of “leaking classified information for political purposes” including the creation of a false narrative “that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.”
Moving forward, Ratcliffe’s office will brief lawmakers using written reports to better protect intel sources and methods.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) bristled at the announcement, claiming no Democrats had leaked classified information and accusing Republicans of exaggerating the China threat in order to distract voters from Russian interference in the upcoming election.
“They’re going to put it in writing now instead of giving an oral briefing,” complained Schiff. “That doesn’t make any sense unless the goal is not to allow members of Congress, the representatives of the American people, to ask questions.”
Democratic nominee Joe Biden also opposed the change, accusing Trump of playing into Russia’s hands in hopes that Moscow will help him win the election.
“This is not how democracy works…but this is how American national security and sovereignty are violated,” argued Biden. “President Trump is hoping Vladimir Putin will once again boost his candidacy and cover his horrific failures to lead our country through the multiple crises we are facing. And he does not want the American people to know the steps Vladimir Putin is taking to help Trump get re-elected.”
“Our intelligence officials have said there’s an active, ongoing assault on our democratic process from Russia,” added Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “President Trump is simply using John Ratcliffe to hide the ugly truth from the American people – that the President is again receiving the help of the Kremlin.”
The ODNI assured lawmakers they would continue to receive all relevant information, including on election matters. Bill Evanina, top intel official for election security, said earlier this month that China and Iran are both hoping Trump does not win the election but that Russia is attempting to “denigrate” Joe Biden’s campaign.
Democrats have a long history of not respecting intelligence sources and methods. One of the biggest problems with Obama’s Iran deal was that it gave away the secret intelligence sources that allowed us to monitor the growth of nuclear facilities. When a source is compromised, you lose it forever, costing money and lives.
Ratcliffe is not trying to withhold information from lawmakers or the public, he is simply presenting information in a more secure form.
“Director Ratcliffe brought information into the committee, and the information leaked…So, he wants to do it in a different form because you have leakers on the committee, obviously, leakers that are doing bad things, probably not even legal to leak, but we’ll look into that separately,” said President Trump.