Election-Related Briefing to Congress to Be ‘Written Finished’: ODNI

August 29, 2020 Updated: August 31, 2020

The Intelligence Community (IC)’s engagement with Congress on election-related issues will be primarily going through “written finished intelligence products,” the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Aug. 28.

In a letter obtained by Politico addressed to Marco Rubio, acting chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner, vice chairman of the committee, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said the move will smooth the communication.

“In order to ensure clarity and consistency across the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI’s) engagement with Congress on elections, the ODNI will primarily meet its obligation to keep Congress fully and currently informed leading into the Presidential election through written finished intelligence products,” Ratcliffe wrote.

The IC has provided more than 60 defensive briefings and election security updates to Congress since the 2018 elections, more than a dozen of them happened in the past few months.

Many of these briefings and updates were productive and successful, he said.

However, there are several concerns the director raised about Congress members’ handling of the information, including information on election security, foreign malign influence, and election interference being misunderstood and politicized and sensitive intelligence being leaked.

Ratcliffe didn’t elaborate on the incidents related to the above concerns.

The finished intelligence reporting will also ensure the information provided by ODNI be of the “highest analytic standards,” he said in the statement.

The office of Rubio didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Rachel Cohen, Warner’s communication director, said in an emailed statement that the Senate Intelligence Committee hasn’t received any letter from the ODNI on this.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the ODNI’s move is “shameful.”

“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 at the precise moment that greater transparency and accountability is required,” they said in a statement.

“We expect the Administration and Intelligence Community to keep us fully and accurately informed, and resume the briefings. If they are unwilling to, we will consider the full range of tools available to the House to compel compliance,” the House top democrats threatened.

The ODNI announced back in May that it will lead all election-related intelligence briefing to candidates, campaigns, and political organizations.

Bill Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, was tapped to lead the efforts.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been charged with briefings campaigns and political organizations.

“The IC will continue to work in partnership with FBI and DHS to identify and integrate threat information, and Evanina and the elections team will act swiftly to deliver the timely and thorough assessments to those affected by potential malicious influence,” the agency said in a May statement.

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