NEW YORK: The United States’ top intelligence official is scaling back its election security briefings to Congress, saying he was concerned that lawmakers had leaked sensitive classified materials to the public.
John Ratcliffe, the Director of National Intelligence, told Fox News that he will continue to keep Congress informed via written reports and will continue to brief relevant congressional committees.
The move has enraged congressional Democrats, who have long charged the Trump administration with downplaying what they call foreign interference in the upcoming presidential election, especially by Russia.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said in a statement that the Office of Director of National Intelligence (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.
Senator Marco Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, and Senator 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.