A Capitol Hill source familiar with the request by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for a briefing on Russian cyber-attacks told Breitbart News the Central Intelligence Agency refused the invitation to update members.
The source, a Republican congressional staffer, said three other agencies were invited to brief the committee, but they did not respond to the invitation from the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.)–perhaps following the CIA’s lead.
Nunes and the committee members were looking for the status of the investigation ordered by President Barack Obama, the source said. The chairman wants to monitor the president’s ordered probe before launching a separate inquest.
“It is unacceptable that the Intelligence Community directors would not fulfill the House Intelligence Committee’s request to be briefed tomorrow on the cyber-attacks that occurred during the presidential campaign,” said Nunes, who is a member of the executive council of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Transition Team.
Nunes said the refusal was a breach of constitutional prerogatives. “The legislative branch is constitutionally vested with oversight responsibility of executive branch agencies, which are obligated to comply with our requests.”
The House Select Committee on Intelligence is the chamber’s committee with oversight over the intelligence community. There have been calls for a new select committee to investigate Russian participation in the American elections, which would create a second select committee and complicate the purpose of the existing select committee, which has oversight over 17 intelligence services across agency and department boundaries.
“We will also closely oversee the production of the report on these attacks requested by President Obama to ensure its analytical integrity. At this time I do not see any benefit in opening further investigations, which would duplicate current committee oversight efforts and intelligence community inquiries,” Nunes said.
The California congressman said he and his colleagues were tracking the cyber threat posed by Russians.
“Russia’s cyber-attacks are no surprise to the House Intelligence Committee, which has been closely monitoring Russia’s belligerence for years—as I’ve said many times, the Intelligence Community has repeatedly failed to anticipate Putin’s hostile actions,” he said.
Confronting the cyber-threats from Russian actors was insufficient because the president did not engage.
“Unfortunately the Obama administration, dedicated to delusions of ‘resetting’ relations with Russia, ignored pleas by numerous Intelligence Committee members to take more forceful action against the Kremlin’s aggression,” he said. “It appears, however, that after eight years the administration has suddenly awoken to the threat.”
The chairman said his committee continues to investigate the cyber-attacks that would have been part of an attempt to manipulate the 2016 election cycle.
“The Committee is vigorously looking into reports of cyber-attacks during the election campaign, and in particular we want to clarify press reports that the CIA has a new assessment that it has not shared with us,” the congressman said.
“When Obama administration officials decline to cooperate with Congress, they seem to be placing politics about national security,” Nunes said.
“The Committee is deeply concerned that intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes,” he said. “The Committee will continue its efforts and will insist that we receive all the necessary cooperation from the relevant leaders of the intelligence community.”