Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, invited officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to appear in a previously scheduled in-person election security briefing.
“The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence … will be holding its previously scheduled full Committee classified intelligence briefing on election security, foreign malign influence, and election interference with members of the IC [Intelligence Community] on Thursday, September 17, 2020,” the House Democrat wrote in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Friday. “The Committee requests that senior intelligence professionals from the IC’s Election Executive and Leadership Board—specifically ODNI … take part in the briefing.”
Schiff also invited several other agencies from the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Department of Homeland Security (HHS) to attend.
He said the briefing was offered by the ODNI on Aug. 10 and this is a continuation of previous election intelligence briefings in February and July.
The ODNI refused to comment on the invitation.
The House intelligence Democrat’s request came after Ratcliffe suspended all in-person election intelligence briefings.
In an Aug. 28 letter addressed to Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner, vice chairman of the committee, Ratcliffe said that the Intelligence Community (IC)’s engagement with Congress on election-related issues will be primarily done through “written finished intelligence products.”
He raised up several concerns 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.
He explained later that he scaled back the election security briefings in person to Congress because of leaks.
“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 during an interview with the Fox News on Sunday.
Ratcliffe criticized some Congress members for using the information from the briefing “to create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.”
According to William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, both China and Russian are trying to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Russia is denigrating Democratic nominee Joe Biden while China prefers President Donald Trump to not win the re-election, he said in a statement back on Aug. 7.
However, Attorney General William Barr said that intelligence shows China is working more aggressively to influence the election than Russia does.
“I believe it’s China,” Barr answered when he was asked about who is the most aggressive nation in influencing the election. “China more than Russia right now.”
The U.S. National Security Advisor (NSA) Robert O’Brien said Friday during a White House press briefing that he agrees with Barr.
“I agree with him 100 [percent],” he said.
Jack Phillips contributed to the report.