Democrats are seething after a surprise decision by Director Of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe to alter the structure of election security briefings.
Citing the need to prevent leaking of classified information to the media, Ratcliffe has scaled back in-person briefings to Congress in favor of written reports that are more difficult to selectively leak to media sources seeking to weaponize information against President Trump.
According to Ratcliffe, “We’ve had a pandemic of information being leaked out of the intelligence community” and that “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.”
Predictably, the sudden change-up did not sit well with top Democrats including shifty Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi who recently accused President Trump and Republicans of being “enemies of the state” also wailed in outrage.
As did RINO and newly crowned Senate Intel Committee head Lil’ Marco Rubio:
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is scaling back its election security briefings to Congress, according to two sources familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by POLITICO.
ODNI told the House and Senate intelligence committees that it will still provide written briefings, but that they should not expect verbal, in-person briefings on the topic, according to a congressional official and letters dated Aug. 28 that Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe sent to top members of Congress. Ratcliffe indicated in those letters that leaks from Congress were the reason for ending in-person briefings.
The move has enraged congressional Democrats, who have long charged the Trump administration with downplaying threats to U.S. elections from foreign actors, especially Russia. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement that ODNI canceled separate briefings that had been scheduled for September before the intelligence committees and all members of Congress.
“This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy,” Schiff and Pelosi said.
Sen. Marco Rubio, acting chair of the Senate intelligence committee, and Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s vice chairman, released separate statements on the administration’s decision, with Rubio excoriating those who leak classified information while urging Ratcliffe to “continue to fulfill” his obligations to fully brief Congress, and Warner casting the decision as “outrageous” and “an unprecedented attempt to politicize” the issue.
The reaction by so many of the president’s sworn enemies is an indication of a coming onslaught of pre-election leaks seeking to accuse Trump of colluding with Putin and the Kremlin with the Russiagate zombie being resurrected just in time for Halloween.
Schiff appeared in his customary slot on CNN’s “State Of The Union” on Sunday morning where he denied that he was leaking to the media while acknowledging that it may have been done by “some” Democrats.
Via The Washington Examiner, “Adam Schiff says he hasn’t leaked classified info, but ‘can’t speak’ for other House Intel Democrats”:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff denied that he has ever leaked classified intelligence, but declined to say for other Democrats on the panel.
The California Democrat responded to President Trump suggesting he makes disclosures for political gain after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence informed Congress that the U.S. intelligence community will not give in-person election security briefings to lawmakers.
“I haven’t. My staff hasn’t. I can’t speak for what all the members of the committee have done or not done, including a lot of the Republican members,” Schiff told CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union on Sunday after she asked if he or other Democrats on the panel have leaked classified information.
Schiff’s denial comes as a response to President Trump who on Saturday spoke to the media about the briefing change:
“Whether it was ‘Shifty Schiff’ or somebody else, they leaked the information before it gets in, and what’s even worse, they leaked the wrong information.”
Whether the day of reckoning is coming has yet to be determined but John Durham is continuing his investigative work.