Trump Intel Chief Stops In-Person Election Security Briefings to Congress

John Ratcliffe and President Donald J. Trump
Photo courtesy Office of Congressman John Ratcliffe

Lawmakers are concerned after National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe announced on Saturday that his office will stop giving in-person election security briefings to Congress on Capitol Hill. The move was unexpected, and a House intelligence committee official told AP News that Ratcliffe’s office had reached out to schedule an in-person briefing to the committee on Sept. 17th.

Democratic lawmakers immediately criticized Ratcliffe’s decision, with both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff calling the move a “betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy,” in a joint statement. “This intelligence belongs to the American people, not the agencies which are its custodian,” Pelosi and Schiff said.

President Donald Trump applauded the move, telling reporters that Ratcliffe made the decision because the administration “got tired” of information leaks coming out of Congress. Ratcliffe echoed that statement on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Features.”

“We’ve had a pandemic of information being leaked out of the intelligence community,” Ratcliffe said. Ratcliffe also claims members of Congress are attempting to create a false narrative that Russia poses a greater national security threat than China.

Earlier this month, U.S. counterintelligence chief William Evanina issued a statement saying U.S. intelligence officials believe that Russia is once again attempting to influence the nation’s democratic elections, using varied methods to denigrate Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Evanina also stated that officials believe China does not want Trump to win a second term, and the Chinese government has stepped up its criticism of the Trump administration.


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