In a move sure to raise eyebrows and considerable ire among congressional Democrats, the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe is telling the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that they will no longer be provided with in-person briefings about election security.
Congress will now be limited to written reports on the sensitive topic as the nation approaches the most monumental election in its history amidst unprecedented threats of foreign interference according to a report on CNN.
The loss of in-person briefings will deprive lawmakers with a crucial opportunity to question intelligence officials about the contents of the election security reports that they receive at a time when partisan tensions run high and trust in the administration is in justifiably short supply.
DNI has informed the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence that they’ll no longer be briefing on election security issues, a senior administration official told CNN. It’ll provide written updates the official said. @jaketapper
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) August 29, 2020
Given Donald Trump’s near-constant bleating about the dangers of mail-in ballots and the supposed rampant fraud that the president has been unable to provide an iota of proof of actually having taken place, the move raised suspicions among Democrats about the reasons for the sudden change of procedure.
Fears that Trump might be plotting ways to suppress voter turnout in myriad ways — including by interfering with U.S. Postal Service deliveries — for an election that polls have him badly trailing his opponent Joe Biden have likely caught the attention of members of the congressional intelligence committees who should by all rights have the opportunity to question intelligence agency officials about their findings.
This latest move against transparency and accountability should be roundly condemned by members of both parties, but let’s see if the GOP members of these committees raise a peep about a move that may in the end assist their own electoral prospects.
If you are incensed about the idea of interference in our elections, perhaps volunteering as a poll worker would be a smart move so that as many witnesses to actions taken at the polls are available to observe any repressive measures that those seeking to restrict access to voting rights may take.
Original reporting by Matthew Chapman at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.