Menendez, Durbin, Reed Call for FBI Briefings in Weeks Leading up to Election Day, Express Concern about Foreign Influence Efforts to Target Congressional Investigations

Menendez, Durbin, Reed Call for FBI Briefings in Weeks Leading up to Election Day, Express Concern about Foreign Influence Efforts to Target Congressional Investigations

“Within the realistic bounds of protecting sources and methods, the American public urgently deserve to know in clear and specific terms about these threats and the ongoing malign activities of our adversaries.”

 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today was joined by Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Jack Reed (D-R.I.) in raising serious concerns over foreign actors’ continued efforts to influence the November 2020 presidential election. In a letter addressed to Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, the Senators called for the FBI to brief Congress and make publicly available as much information regarding adversaries’ threatening behavior as possible.

“Members must understand the risks inherent in accepting information generated by foreign sources, especially those committees currently conducting investigations,” Senators Menendez, Durbin and Reed wrote to Director Wray. “Congress is a target and we need to do everything in our power to protect this institution and American democracy.” 

In a July 13 letter, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressed to Director Wray they were “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.” 

“Finally, we urge you to make public as much information as possible regarding the foreign threat to our elections, including the aims, capabilities, and means used by these foreign actors. It is imperative, moreover, to do so in a manner that does not conflate or misrepresent the intent, actions, or scale of the threat posed by foreign actors,” the Senators concluded. “Within the realistic bounds of protecting sources and methods, the American public urgently deserve to know in clear and specific terms about these threats and the ongoing malign activities of our adversaries.”  

A copy of the letter may be found HERE and below: 

Dear Director Wray: 

We are writing to reiterate our growing concerns that foreign actors continue to target the November 2020 election.  Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi noted in their July 13th letter to you 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.”  We attended classified briefings from the intelligence community and FBI over the past week and our concerns with respect to this targeting have only grown.  

With that in mind, we urge you to provide a regular series of update briefings in the coming weeks so that all Senators are aware of the specific threats posed by this or any other concerted foreign interference campaign that is targeting Congress and seeks to influence the presidential election in November.  Members must understand the risks inherent in accepting information generated by foreign sources, especially those committees currently conducting investigations.  Congress is a target and we need to do everything in our power to protect this institution and American democracy. That starts with access to the most recent intelligence and data.  

Finally, we urge you to make public as much information as possible regarding the foreign threat to our elections, including the aims, capabilities, and means used by these foreign actors. It is imperative, moreover, to do so in a manner that does not conflate or misrepresent the intent, actions, or scale of the threat posed by foreign actors. Within the realistic bounds of protecting sources and methods, the American public urgently deserve to know in clear and specific terms about these threats and the ongoing malign activities of our adversaries. 

Sincerely,

  

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