Ratcliffe defends halting election briefings, accuses members of Congress of leaking classified information
DNI John Ratcliffe on changes to congressional security briefings
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe tells Maria Bartiromo that ‘pandemic’ of leaks from Congress was reason for scaling back in-person briefings.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe defended his decision to scale back in-person election security briefings to Congress in favor of written reports and accused members of Congress of leaking information "within minutes" of briefings.
Ratcliffe told "Sunday Morning Futures" he had been going above and beyond in briefing "not just the oversight committees but every member of Congress" but will no longer do so.
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"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," Ratcliffe told host Maria Bartiromo. "To create a narrative that simply isn't true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China."
Ratcliffe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
"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 Friday, Ratcliffe told 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.” He wrote that it would better protect sources and methods while ensuring that it reflects “the highest analytic standards."
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., accused the Trump administration of pushing a false narrative to downplay Russian interference in the 2020 election.
"They're going to put it in writing now instead of giving an oral briefing. That doesn't make any sense unless the goal is not to allow members of Congress, the representatives of the American people, to ask questions," Schiff told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
"Concealing the truth is concealing Russians are again intervening to help the president in his reelection," Schiff said.
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Other critics of ODNI's decision were quick to say the Trump administration is playing into Russia's hands.
"President Trump is hoping Vladimir Putin will once more boost his candidacy and cover his horrific failures to lead our country through the multiple crises we are facing. And he does not want the American people to know the steps Vladimir Putin is taking to help Trump get re-elected," Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in a statement.
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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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