In a short, cryptic letter to President Obama, seven Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the White House to declassify information about Russia in regards to the presidential election.
“We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public,” the lawmakers wrote Tuesday. “We are conveying specifics through classified channels.”
And that’s all they wrote, at least in a declassified setting.
The letter was led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the leading privacy advocates in Congress, and also signed by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), an ex-officio member of the committee, also signed on.
The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), did not sign the letter. In mid-October, though, she said that via information she’d received including through congressional briefings she could “only conclude that the Russian government is attempting to interfere in our election with the goal of electing Donald Trump.”
That included, Feinstein said, the “hacking of political institutions, the recent hacking of John Podesta’s email account and the release of other faked documents.”
“I agree with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Homeland Security that only the senior-most government officials in Russia could have ordered this effort,” she added. “…Americans should not and will not stand for these illegal and illegitimate attempts by the heirs of the KGB to corrupt our election system.”
A month before the election, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security declared in a joint statement that the Intelligence Community is “confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.”
“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the statement said. “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there.”
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
State and local election officials were urged to “be vigilant and seek cybersecurity assistance from DHS.”