During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe defended his decision over why he will no longer provide Congress with in-person election security briefings, and opting to instead provide the lawmakers with written “intelligence products” amid concerns over leaks of sensitive information.
Ratcliffe had informed the House Intelligence Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee, in letter dated on Friday, that the intelligence community has provided “more than 60 defensive briefings and election security updates to the U.S. Congress, including many not required by law”, including more than a dozen in the last month.
John Ratcliffe told host Maria Bartiromo that when he went through the confirmation process, he “made a couple promises”, clarifying, “One of them was to always follow the law. The other was that I would do everything I could to protect the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, allowing people to leak it for political purposes.”
“The action that I announced yesterday is entirely consistent with that,” he said. “I reiterated that to Congress– look, I’m going to keep you fully and currently informed as required by the law, but I also said, ‘We’re not gonna do a repeat of what happened a month ago.’ When I did more than what was required at the request of Congress– to brief not just the Oversight Committees, but every member of Congress–when I did that, Maria, I said, ‘My only condition is that you treat this information with the respect that it deserves and you keep it private'”.
Ratcliffe continued: “And yet, within minutes of one of those briefings ending, a number of members of Congress went to a number of different publications and leaked classified information again, for political purposes– to create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China. I’m going to continue to keep the promises that I made, I’m going to continue to follow the law. I’m going to continue to keep Congress informed, but we’ve had a pandemic of information being leaked out of the intelligence community, and I’m gonna take the measures to make sure that stops.”
“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,” he said. “Anyone who says otherwise is just politicizing intelligence for their own narrative.” Continued Below
Asked how Congress will be briefed in the future, Ratcliffe told Bartiromo, “We’ll do what’s required by law. Those members that are entitled to the briefings and classified information will still get that information.”
“What we won’t be doing is all member briefings, to all members of the House and all members of the Senate. We’ve tried that and the information hasn’t been protected. We’ve implemented procedures where we’ll primarily brief through written materials. But we’ll also provide briefings to the members that are entitled to it, as we’ve done before,” he said.
“Make no mistake, Congress will be fully and currently informed as required by law. There’s no issue with respect to that. We’re gonna do what we’re supposed to do, but what we’re also going to do is protect information from getting leaked for political purposes. It’s just happened too much, and I won’t stand for it,” Ratcliffe stated. Video Below
Meanwhile, the Director of National Intelligence’s letter appeared to frustrate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), prompting them to release a statement on Friday, claiming they “will consider the full range of tools available to the House to compel compliance.”
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s full remarks:
Related: Pelosi & Schiff Vent Their Frustration As DNI Ratcliffe Reduces In-Person Election Security Briefs Amid Leak Concerns)