Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have demanded an all-Congress briefing from the FBI after learning of “specific” intelligence that a foreign influence operation targeted lawmakers to “launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity.”
In a July 13 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray — released publicly Monday — the Democratic leaders describe mounting alarm about the potential foreign threat.
“We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in their letter, which was also signed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.).
“Given the seriousness and specificity of these threats, as members of congressional leadership and the congressional intelligence committees we believe it is imperative that the FBI provide a classified defensive briefing to all Members of Congress and that the briefing draw on all-source intelligence information and analysis, consistent with due regard for the protection of sensitive intelligence sources and methods,” they continued.
The FBI acknowledged receiving the letter, but the bureau declined to comment further. In their letter, the Democratic leaders demanded the briefing “prior to the August recess at the earliest possible opportunity” — and they want a schedule in place by the end of the day Monday.
The letter’s authors did not provide any additional details about the nature of the counterintelligence threat they described. But lawmakers of both parties have warned for months that foreign powers like Russia are intent on interfering in the 2020 U.S. election process.
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.
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