Senior intelligence officials will no longer brief Congress in person on foreign interference in the 2020 election. Instead, they will inform lawmakers of threats in writing, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Saturday.
The decision, made with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s assent, arose out of concerns that briefings to lawmakers have resulted in leaks of classified information, an ODNI official said.
But the change threatens to undermine the community’s pledge to be transparent with Congress and the public at a time when three foreign adversaries, including Russia, are seeking to influence the American political process….
Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), immediately cried foul.
“This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy,” she said in a joint statement with Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee.
“The ODNI had requested the opportunity to brief the intelligence committees and the full U.S. House of Representatives in mid-September and has now cancelled those briefings and said it would hold no others,” the pair wrote. “This is shameful and — coming only weeks before the election — demonstrates that the Trump Administration is engaged in a politicized effort to withhold election-related information from Congress and the American people.”