It was recently revealed that due to unauthorized leaks of classified information, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) would no longer provide in-person briefings to members of Congress regarding election security issues, but would instead provide written summaries.
The cancellation of a series of upcoming briefings left top Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) outraged, The Hill reported Saturday — and now, they say National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe, and President Donald Trump, are trying to cover up alleged election interference.
Pelosi and Schiff: Russia, Russia, Russia!
According to The Hill, the enraged duo of Trump-hating House leaders issued a joint statement on Saturday that decried the cancellation of in-person briefings and insisted the move by the ODNI was “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.”
“This intelligence belongs to the American people, not the agencies which are its custodian,” the statement read, according to The Hill.
It went on: “And the American people have both the right and the need to know that another nation, Russia, is trying to help decide who their president should be.”
Pelosi and Schiff further alleged — without acknowledging that they’d still receive written briefings — that the canceled briefings show “that the Trump Administration is engaged in a politicized effort to withhold election-related information from Congress and the American people at the precise moment that greater transparency and accountability is required.”
“We expect the Administration and Intelligence Community to keep us fully and accurately informed, and resume the briefings. If they are unwilling to, we will consider the full range of tools available to the House to compel compliance,” Pelosi and Schiff added, in what can only be considered as a threat.
Protecting the intel
President Trump, for his part, has placed the blame on Democrats for forcing Ratcliffe to make such a move. Speaking Saturday, Trump said it wouldn’t have been necessary if intelligence secrets weren’t leaked.
“Director Ratcliffe brought information into the committee, and the information leaked,” Trump said in Texas, according to Politico. “Whether it was Shifty Schiff or somebody else, they leaked the information.”
The president added: “And what’s even worse, they leaked the wrong information. And he got tired of it. So he wants to do it in a different forum, because you have leakers on the committee.”
An unnamed official at the ODNI further expressed the office’s commitment to “keeping Congress fully and currently informed.”
“For clarity and to protect sensitive intelligence from unauthorized disclosures, we will primarily do that through written finished intelligence products,” the official said in a statement, as Politico reported. They went on:
We are concerned about unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information following recent briefings. The DNI is committed to ensuring Congress is fully and currently informed and that classified information is protected.