May 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DNI to take lead role in election security briefings

In this image, David Grennell wears a suit and tie
Acting DNI Richard Grenell. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell announced Friday that his office would take the lead role in election security briefings for political candidates, amid other organizational changes to the DNI's National Counterterrorism Center.

The big picture, via the New York Times: Grenell "has been racing against the clock to make changes to his office before his appointment ends and he is replaced with a Senate-confirmed official."

What they're saying: “We are facing a time in our nation’s history where the threat picture is far broader than terrorism, and the I.C. needs to shift resources to address a wide range of complex, sophisticated adversaries,” Lora Shiao, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in a statement.

  • William R. Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, will continue to work with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security when notifying political candidates of potential threats, the agency said.

The other side: Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released a statement Friday in response:

“Our Committee did not authorize these latest changes—announced, once again, late on a Friday—by a temporary and unqualified Acting Director of National Intelligence, nor were HPSCI or SSCI even briefed or consulted, as required by law and requested by the Committees. The Acting DNI has a legal obligation to keep the Committee fully and currently informed of these changes and failed to do so.
“NCTC was created in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and preventing another catastrophic attack remains among our nation’s most solemn obligations. Many recent former NCTC leaders expressed concerns about the potential for politicized changes to NCTC. We will therefore be reviewing these significant changes carefully, including to assess the operational impact they could have on our nation’s readiness to identify, assess, and thwart potential terrorist attacks.”

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