The former U.S. director of national intelligence says that there was no concerning intelligence regarding China in the fall of 2020, rebutting congressional testimony by Gen. Mark Milley.
“There was no concerning intelligence that merited a call to his Chinese counterpart,” John Ratcliffe, who was the director from May 2020 to January, said on Fox News.
Milley spoke with a Chinese general, Li Zuocheng, in October 2020 and January. He told a Senate panel this week that the first call was triggered by “concerning intelligence which caused us to believe the Chinese were worried about an imminent attack by the U.S.”
Milley said he conveyed to his counterpart that the United States wasn’t going to attack China.
Milley, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the top military adviser to the president. When the calls were made, that was President Donald Trump. And Ratcliffe was at the time the top intelligence adviser to Trump.
Ratcliffe said neither he nor Milley nor other top advisers briefed Trump a single time about concerning intelligence regarding China.
He also said that Milley received intelligence from him.
“The idea that he’d have better or different intelligence, or have concerns about it that he wouldn’t share with me as the president’s principal intelligence adviser, is absurd,” he said.
The existence of the calls was revealed in three recent books. Milley acknowledged speaking to the authors, who are political reporters who have known animus against Trump.
Milley defended both the calls and speaking with the reporters.
“I think it is important for me to speak to the media,” Milley said.
But Ratcliffe said Milley knew when he was sitting down with the reporters that he was choosing sides.
“It’s frankly unforgivable,” he said, calling on Milley to resign.
Milley has also said he was directed to call the Chinese general by Mark Esper, who was defense secretary in late 2020, and Christopher Miller, who succeeded Esper.
Esper hasn’t commented, but Miller said earlier this month that he didn’t authorize the latter call.
If the reporting in one of the books is accurate, Miller said, “it represents a disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination by the Nation’s top military officer.”