THE NEUTRAL ZONE
National security briefings to Congress will now occur in written form, according to a letter from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. He said the new format “helps ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that the information ODNI provides the Congress … is not misunderstood nor politicized.”
President Donald Trump blamed “Shifty Schiff” and others who allegedly leaked information to media outlets for the change praised Ratcliffe for “doing a great job.” While attending a briefing on Hurricane Laura, President Trump accused lawmakers of leaking the “wrong information,” an issue he “got tired of.”
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chair Ron Johnson said Sunday that concerns about the end of in-person election security briefings were ” being blown so way out of proportion.” Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., referred to leaking classified information as “an abuse” and a “serious federal crime” enacted to advance “electoral aims.” He added that Ratcliffe will continue to inform Congress on all oversight topics, including the upcoming election.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement, “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.” In a tweet, Senator Angus King, D-Maine, stated that “the foundation of Democracy itself is in grave peril” and called the lack of in-person briefings “an outrage.” Schiff stated it is possible the House of Representative could subpoena intelligence officials to testify on election interference, adding “is certainly one of the tools that we may use.”
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement that the change in briefing protocol was “deeply alarming” and called for it to be “reversed immediately.”
ODNI cancels future election security briefings for Congress – Axios – 8/30/2020
Biden accused Trump of hoping Russian President Vladimir Putin “will once more boost his candidacy.”] “This is not how democracy works,” Biden said. “But it is how American national security and sovereignty are violated.”
Democrats howl at DNI’s move to written election briefings – The Washington Times – 8/30/2020
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe notified Congress Saturday that his office will primarily provide written briefings on foreign election interference, instead of in-person briefings, prompting howls of protest from Democrats.
DNI Defends Halting Election Security Briefings By Accusing Congressional Members Of Leaking – Talking Points Memo – 8/30/2020
On Sunday, Schiff tore into the Trump administration over what he views as an effort to downplay the threat of Russian interference in the November election, during an interview on CNN. “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 said. “Concealing the truth is concealing Russians are again intervening to help the president in his reelection,” Schiff said.
Director Of National Intelligence Defends Scaled Back Security Briefings: Congress Leaked Info ‘Within Minutes’ – The Daily Wire – 8/30/2020
Republican Senators Marco Rubio (FL) and Mark Warner (VA) issued their own statement, excoriating suspected leakers, but also encouraging Ratcliffe to return to giving in-person briefings as soon as possible. […] Ratcliffe noted that Members of Congress will now receive written briefings and in-person briefings will resume when the ODNI is confident Congress can again be trusted with classified information.