House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) demanded Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe resume election security briefings to Congress, days after Ratcliffe said it’s necessary to scale back the in-person briefings because of leaks.
“Your abrupt decision to cancel previously scheduled election-related briefings, contrary to repeated private and public commitments by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), is an abdication of your responsibility to keep the American people and their elected representatives informed of foreign threats to the 2020 election,” they wrote in a letter on Tuesday.
“If you are unwilling to resume election-related intelligence briefings to Congress, we will have no choice but to consider the full range of tools available to compel compliance,” they continued.
The ODNI did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
In late August, Ratcliffe told the House and Senate intelligence committees that the ODNI will still provide written briefings on election security matters. Ratcliffe, in letters to the panels, said that leaks from members of Congress were a primary reason for the change.
Ratcliffe said on Fox News that he had been frequently briefing “not just the oversight committees but every member of Congress.” But, he said, “within minutes of one of those briefings ending, a number of members of Congress went to a number of different outlets and leaked classified information for political purposes.”
He said that it was designed “to create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.”
“I don’t mean to minimize Russia. They are a serious national security threat, but day in, day out, the threats that we face from China are significantly greater,” Ratcliffe said. “Anyone who says otherwise is just politicizing intelligence for their own narrative.”
On Aug. 28, Ratcliffe said to lawmakers that his office “will primarily meet its obligation to keep Congress fully and currently informed leading into the Presidential election through written finished intelligence products,” adding that he will protect his sources.
But the Democrats argued in their letter that “written finished intelligence products are no substitute for intelligence briefings” and insisted that Russia is the major threat to the November elections.
‘The IC (Intelligence Community) confirmed publicly on August 7 that only one country—Russia—is actively undertaking a “range of measures” to interfere in the election, they said, adding, “Your decision, moreover, comes as the Congress itself is the target of a concerted effort by Russia to launder and amplify disinformation, including through a ‘pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian’ who is spreading false claims ‘to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party.'”
The ODNI’s office in July indicated in a bombshell report that China, Iran, and Russia are actively seeking to influence and undermine the November election.
The head of U.S. counterintelligence, William Evanina, placed China on top of the list of threats, noting that Beijing is ramping up its influence efforts by attempting to shape U.S. policy, pressuring political figures, and countering criticism of China.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.