The US intelligence director defended on Sunday the decision of Donald Trump’s government, criticized by Democrats, to send only written notes to Congress on the state of foreign interference campaigns on the upcoming elections.
While Russia, China and Iran are accused by the United States of trying to influence the presidential and legislative elections on November 3, the National Intelligence Bureau has announced in recent days to congressmen that it is not There would be more in-person briefings on the status of these threats.
This format was appreciated by elected officials since it allowed them to question the most senior American intelligence officials directly, behind closed doors, in a country where Parliament traditionally exercises rigorous control over the executive. The fear of the Democratic opposition is that written reports may be more easily watered down or subjected to political influence, with Donald Trump disputing that Russia wants to help him get reelected.
“We have had a pandemic of information leaks from the intelligence community, I will take measures to stop it,” said Sunday on the Fox News channel John Ratcliffe, director of national intelligence, a post which oversees the 17 intelligence agencies, civil and military, of the United States.
“We will do what is prescribed by law,” he said. “Elected officials who are entitled to briefings and classified information will always receive this information. What we will no longer do are briefings to all members of the House and Senate ”.
“Trump does not want Americans to know about Russia’s efforts to aid in his re-election,” Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Saturday. The lower house of Congress is dominated by Democrats (the Senate has a Republican majority).
In his interview on Sunday, John Ratcliffe insisted that China, not Russia, was “the greatest threat to American superiority, economically, militarily, technologically”, but without specifically describing Chinese interventions at the political or electoral level, except to say that Beijing had a “preference” for Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, and exercised a kind of economic blackmail on elected officials from carefully targeted constituencies.
“I want to reassure Americans and tell them that it would be difficult for anyone, whether China, Russia or Iran, to change voting results. We have a decentralized system to count the votes in this country, ”finally said the spy chief.