John Ratcliff accuses Congress of leaking of classified info
Accusing members of Congress of leaking classified information “within minutes” of receiving it, the Direction of National Intelligence on Sunday defended his decision to primarily rely on written security reports rather than in-person briefings in the future.
John Ratcliff told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that a number of members of Congress have leaked classified information for political purposes to create what he says is a false narrative that Russia is a greater national security threat than China.
“We’ve had a pandemic of information being leaked out of the intelligence community,” Director Ratcliff said. “I’m going to take measures to make sure that stops.”
Lawmakers in the House and Senate intelligence committees who are legally entitled to the briefings will continue to get them. But going forward, Ratcliff said his office will “primarily meet its obligations to keep Congress fully informed” through written reports. The regular leaks are putting intelligence sources and methods in jeopardy, he said.
“We’re talking about the lives of brave men and women. It puts their lives at risk,” he said.
Russia wants a seat at the table of the international order, he said, but China wants to sit at the head of the table.
“China is the greatest threat that we face. They are a serious national security threat,” Director Ratcliff said. “Day in and day out, the threats we face from China are significantly greater. Anyone who says otherwise is just politicizing intelligence for their own narrative.”
He acknowledged that a number of countries, including China and Russia, are trying to interfere or influence the upcoming presidential election for their own ends. But China has wider ambitions, he said.
Beijing is engaging in influence peddling, lobbying and even blackmail in some cases in order to boost pro-China policies by U.S. officials, he said.
“China is using a massive and sophisticated influence campaign,” Director Ratcliff said. “This is on a scale no other country is doing.”