Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that Democrats sent FBI Director Christopher Wray an unofficial and unverified classified addendum/annex, saying it pulled “selectively” from reports and failed to adequately represent the intelligence community’s viewpoint.
The annex referenced by Ratcliffe was an addendum attached to a July 13 letter sent to Wray by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) concerning Russian interference in the 2020 elections.
In response to an inquiry about the addendum from Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Ratcliffe wrote on Aug. 27 that the intelligence community (IC) did not “create” or “authorize” the annex contained in the Democrats’ letter.
“In response to your specific questions, I can confirm the IC did not create the classified addendum to the 13 July letter, nor did we authorize its creation. The IC was not consulted prior to its creation and subsequent release to the entire membership of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Ratcliffe wrote (pdf).
“Unfortunately, this addendum only draws selectively from a small number of IC reports and focuses on only one threat actor in the elections security space. In summary, the classified addendum apparently prepared by the aforementioned individuals, by no means reflects the full and complete analysis of the IC,” Ratcliffe wrote.
Grassley and Johnson wrote in an Aug. 4 letter to Pelosi and cosigners, that they were concerned that information in the Democrats’ July 13 letter and addendum had leaked to the media.
“I share your concerns about intelligence information being described in the press,” Ratcliffe wrote in his letter to the GOP senators. “As you know, any mention of classified materials in the public domain jeopardizes our sources and methods and undermines the critical work of the Intelligence Community (IC) to protect our nation.”
Andrew Desiderio, a Politico reporter covering congressional investigations and oversight defended one such report by Politico that originally reported about the annex attached to the Democrats’ July 13 letter.
“Grassley & Johnson released a letter from Ratcliffe that they say undercuts our reporting on the July 13 classified annex about foreign disinformation/election interference. We never reported that the IC created the annex; only that it ‘draws from’ the IC’s analysis,” Desiderio wrote in a Tweet Thursday.
In their Sept. 3 press release Grassley and Johnson say, “The classified addendum (annex) to a July 13 letter from senior congressional Democrats, portions of which were leaked to the news media, mixed their theories on unclassified open-source material with classified intelligence reports to fabricate a veneer of credibility but shield their analysis from public scrutiny,” the two senators wrote.
Grassley and Johnson continued, “For example, one claim reportedly in the addendum (annex) relies solely on a public document created by Andriy Derkach, a foreign national identified as attempting to influence the 2020 election. Without any basis, Democrats speculated that the document possibly suggests Derkach may have sent packets of material to Grassley and Johnson.”
Desiderio fired back again at Grassley and Johnsons’ reference to his report.
“Their press release (Sept. 3) falsely says our story about Derkach was based ‘solely’ on unclassified open-source info. A few sentences later they say this info ‘does not indicate that he sent any material to Grassley,'” wrote Desiderio. “We reported the annex states Derkach *did* send info to Grassley.”
“We flatly reject and deny any claims that we have received, much less are relying on, any materials received from Andriy Derkach—and there is no such evidence to support these false Democrat claims. It’s clear from the ODNI’s (Ratcliffe’s) letter that this addendum was created to advance partisan politics, not election security,” concluded Grassley and Johnson press statement.