Intel Officials Deny Another Capitol Hill Request for Russia Briefing

Johnson chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee. (Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

The CIA denied a request from Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson for a briefing on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, making him the second national security committee chairman this week to be denied information from intelligence officials.

“I returned to Washington this week and requested the CIA to provide a briefing on Russia’s cyber capabilities and its involvement with the U.S. presidential election,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement issued Friday. “The CIA refused this request.”

He added that he found it “disappointing that the CIA would provide information on this issue to the Washington Post and NBC but will not provide information to elected members of Congress.”

Citing unnamed U.S. officials who were reportedly briefed on the hacking operations, a Dec. 9 article published by The Washington Post said the CIA has concluded that the Kremlin interfered in the U.S. election to help Trump win. NBC News, citing unnamed senior U.S. intelligence officials, reported on Thursday that those officials believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the effort to meddle with the U.S. election.

On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in a statement that “Intelligence Community directors” denied a request for his panel to receive a briefing to “clarify press reports that the CIA has a new assessment that it has not shared with us.”

“The legislative branch is constitutionally vested with oversight responsibility of executive branch agencies, which are obligated to comply with our requests,” said Nunes, who’s a member of the Trump transition team. He added that the move to deny the request was “unacceptable.”

The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.

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