Commentary: WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 13, 2018) - Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) questioned top intelligence officials during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence open hearing on Worldwide Threats. The committee received testimony from Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, NSA Director Michael Rogers, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo.
During Senator Heinrich’s questioning, CIA Director Pompeo and DNI Director Coats warned of Russian attempts to interfere in U.S. elections and confirmed existing Russian activity and intention to have an impact on the 2018 midterm elections. The top intelligence officials’ comments were in stark contrast to President Trump’s, who denies meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections and has not taken necessary action to prevent future foreign interference.
Senator Heinrich has led bipartisan efforts to strengthen election cybersecurity in America and protect against foreign threats. He recently introduced the Secure Elections Act to improve and modernize protections for our voting systems, registration data, and ballots to prevent theft, manipulation, and malicious computer hacking. In an op-ed published earlier this month, Senator Heinrich and New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver outlined the critical work that needs to be done at the federal and state levels to protect the security and integrity of our election systems before voters go to the polls this year.
During the hearing, Senator Heinrich expressed concern with White House staff operating under temporary security clearances having access to classified materials following the recent departure of White House staff secretary Rob Porter who was forced to resign because of his record of domestic violence.
Senator Heinrich also raised questions about morale at the FBI amidst attacks from the White House and the danger of releasing politicized classified information. FBI Director Wray confirmed to Senator Heinrich that the FBI has grave concerns with the accuracy of the Republican memo authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and pushed back on claims of inherent political bias at the FBI.
A list of witnesses and testimony, and the archived webcast of today's hearing will be available here.