Insights picked up so quickly that Rubio even suggested this week that his committee’s annual hearing on global threats might not go as planned, citing “severe politicization.” During the court hearing, members of the House and Senate intelligence teams may hear directly from the heads of the CIA, the National Security Agency and other agencies about the dangers posed by countries such as Russia, Iran and China.
“It’s harder to agree on a forum that doesn’t become a political circus,” Rubio said.
“Why would a professional intelligence officer at any level want to be turned into a political trump card to tell the story of one side or the other?” He added. “You̵7;d think intelligence issues might be higher, but now it’s not.”
As the election approaches, Democrats, who see the Kremlin’s ongoing efforts to spoil alleged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, are increasingly worried about Russian interference by Ukrainian actors. Recent revelations about Moscow’s intentions to force Democrats to push Trump’s administration into direct, more concrete statements about a campaign of foreign influence.
Democrats have even suggested that senior intelligence officials could face politically motivated pressure on what to say in public statements and when to say so that President Donald Trump is not harmed.
Substantial disagreements between Democratic and Republicans at the eight gang centers over how much information about foreign threats should be made public. While Democrats demanded more transparency, Republicans warned of a potentially dangerous precedent. The Democratic and Republican Group has therefore issued duel statements and demands to entities in which they are generally united.
2016 The group debated whether to issue a statement early condemning Russia for its interference in the presidential campaign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a member of a gang of eight groups, reportedly refused to sign it, and the statement was never made public.
The latest controversy began after the Democratic Party of Eight, which includes California-speaking Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, issued a letter last week to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that they inform all lawmakers that they were not. threats in 2020 integrity of the elections.
POLITICO later reported that these threats, mentioned in a separate classified letter, include concerns about Senate Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) Investigations against Biden and his son Hunter and the efforts of Russian-level Ukrainians to influence VV lawmakers with Kremlin-backed disinformation. . . Since then, Johnson has responded to the accusations by accusing Democrats of writing that they are running their own disinformation campaign to undermine and discredit his investigations.
Republicans rejected the Democrat letter as a guerrilla effort and said they were never asked to join Democrat calls for a Congressional briefing. Democrats have a political incentive to speak out because their presidential candidate is allegedly the target of a Russian disinformation campaign.
Home Intelligence Committee voted on Wednesday to give all members of the House access to the classified part of Wray’s letter to the Democrats.
Biden threatened last week that the Kremlin and other foreign governments would be responsible for any interference if he was elected president, reflecting growing concern not only about Trump’s unwillingness to commit to not accepting foreign aid in the election, but also about his campaign and members of Congress. as escalating disinformation campaigns taking place from Ukraine.
Later this week, William Evanina, director of the National Center for Counterintelligence and Security and the country’s top counterintelligence officer, issued a “100-Day” statement on Friday warning of interference in foreign elections. The statement became another point in a Democratic and Republican dispute over a gang of eight people.
“Just over 100 days before the election, it is imperative that we also share insights with the American public about the foreign threats to our elections and offer citizens across the country to build resilience and help mitigate those threats,” the report said.
She cites unspecified influence operations and disinformation campaigns by China, Russia and Iran, and called on Americans to “take a critical look at information”, “pursue good cyber hygiene and media literacy” and “report suspicious election-related activities to the authorities”.
The statement sparked an immediate reaction from eight sides of the gang, which also includes Home Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California, which Evanina briefly briefed on foreign interference intelligence information two days earlier than their Republican counterparts.
Some Democrats skeptically began with the usefulness of the 100-day statement, saying people were thinking about their thinking, and urging Evanin to be specific about Russia’s threat if he insisted on public comment on the intervention campaign. Eventually, they were disappointed and thought the statement did not reflect the sharp Russian efforts that Evanina had privately handed over to the Gang of Eight, people said.
As a result, the Democratic side of the eight gang issued another joint statement condemning Evanina’s declaration as “so common that it makes little sense” and giving “a false sense of equivalence to the actions of foreign opponents, listing three countries with unequal intent.” , motivation and skills together ”.
Senate Intelligence Vice President Mark Warner (D-Va.), Who supported Evanina’s Senate approval of his current role, suggested that Evanina may face politically motivated pressure on what to say in public statements.
“I think [Evanina] is someone who really wants to do the right thing, ”Warner said. “I think there is pressure in the administration on how much information to disclose. … I want to make sure he has every right to do his job, which means we need to make sure the Senate and the American public are informed. “
Representatives of Warner and Schumer declined to comment on the senators’ interaction with Evanina.
Rubio and McConnell quickly rejected Evanina’s statement, described by Democrats, calling his reaction an attack that “unnecessarily sank” into Evanina’s character and “politicized intelligence.”
Former rapper Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Who was a member of the Eight Gang, is only helping opponents trying to exploit guerrilla corps in the U.S. by depriving the intelligence community of full supervision. he was chairman of the Intelligence Committee from 2011 to 2015.
“The truth is that we have nation states that look at this dysfunction and engage in activities that could threaten our elections, and they will not choose teams,” Rogers said. “When committees become dysfunctional and when these people decide to sue in public, you have to ask yourself, who are they helping?”
“You’re not trying to deal with these issues in press releases,” Rogers said. “You raise it in a classified environment. And that’s why the IC doesn’t get proper supervision – no one in the community wants to inform these committees, because it’s a revolving door for the public. “
Martin Matishak contributed to this report.