Russia And Elections 2016: Senate Intelligence Committee Members Sign Letter To POTUS Seeking Declassification Of Intel

As the Inquisitr previously reported, earlier this Fall, President Obama went public with information that linked whistleblower website WikiLeaks to Russia. President Obama had linked the whistleblower information to Russia asserting that Russia’s intent of the hacking of information that led to WikiLeaks dumps during the election was to interfere with Elections 2016.

That Fall announcement occurred in concert with a letter signed by 16 officials in the intelligence community, that is publicly available for viewing on Scribd, that opened with the following statement.

“We are concerned that an ongoing Russian influence operation is targeting the 2016 U.S. Election. This is a serious national security issue that transcends partisan politics.”

The notion of Russian interference with the election was left at that, with no further evidence or developments provided. The Guardian reports that this week, eight members of Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee have signed a letter asking the White House to declassify the intelligence that led to these initial statements and actions.

As The Guardian reports, the letter from high ranking members of the Dems Senate Intelligence Committee “hints” that the committee is aware that some secret information exists, and the letter is asking the White House to declassify it.

The letter does not accuse Russia of any wrong doing, nor does it accuse Donald Trump of wrong doing. This is noteworthy due to the fact that the WikiLeaks dumps on the election only occurred against the Democratic candidate. During the election, Donald Trump repeatedly stated that he had nothing to do with Russia and did not know why Russia kept coming up.

The 16 members of the intelligence community that signed the letter dated October 6 of this year disagreed. They stated that Donald Trump’s statements during the debate about Russia were a “willful misrepresentation of facts” reports NBC News.

This willful misrepresentation claim, and Donald Trump’s alleged ignorance of alleged Russian involvement, came after both presidential candidates had reportedly been advised in intelligence briefings that Russia was indeed responsible for multiple hacks that occurred on political organizations and entities during Elections 2016.

The eight Senators that have signed the letter asking the White House to declassify this information include ranking member Mark Warner from Virginia and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, as well as Independent Senator Angus King of Maine. Jack Reed is also a member of the Senate armed services committee and thus is a non-voting member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Mark Warner wrote this.

“We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian government and the US election that should be declassified and released to the public. We are conveying specifics through classified channels.”

The letter suggests that the ranking Senators are privy to “specifics” that must be handled in a classified manner. Indeed, a classified version was also written that included the signatory of Dianne Feinstein reports The Guardian.

In addition to the aforementioned, also as signatory on the letter are Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono, and Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski.

The Guardian reports that a spokesperson for Senator Wyden has stated that the information needs to be declassified “immediately” citing the “national interest” of the American public. It is the first declassification request by a collective of eight Senators in 12 years notes The Guardian.

The Guardian also notes that the FBI has investigated the alleged links between Russia and the election. The FBI reportedly found nothing connecting Russia to the election, which many high-ranking legislators do not agree with.

Earlier this fall, Democratic Senate leader Senator Harry Reid went public in a letter published on the Senator’s website to FBI Director Comey with an accusation saying that FBI Director James Comey did indeed have “explosive” information. In his letter Senator Harry Reid wrote the following.

“The double standard by your actions is clear. In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.”

Top Democrat in the high ranking House Oversight and Government Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings has been critical of FBI Director Comey as well. The Daily Beast reports that in a statement earlier this Fall before the election, Cummings said this.

“The FBI now potentially faces a very serious credibility problem. If it turns out that the FBI is in fact investigating – or planning to investigate – Paul Manafort because of his dealings with Russia, or anyone else associated with Donald Trump – and does not disclose these facts to the American people before the election – then the FBI will be accused of a double standard when those facts ultimately do come out.”

Rep. Cummings has also been highly critical of FBI Director Comey making “unsubstantiated and in some cases false” statements to Congress about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the election as well. The Guardian reports that there has been no public statement or movement from the White House on whether or not the White House intends to declassify the information requested by the Senators this week.

[Feature Image by Patrick Semansky/AP Images]

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